Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

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I’m just about to get on a plane and return to Boston after a week in the south.  I’ve enjoyed the history and the music and the yummy food, but I’m looking forward to the relatively cooler Boston weather.  All of those references in southern novels about spending the afternoon on the front porch (especially before air conditioning), are more understandable to me now than they were a week ago.  On the return flight, I hope to finish reading Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson.

I chose to read Simonson’s novel during vacation because the reviews led me to believe it was light, but well-written and well-observed.  The reviews were right, and I can’t wait for the plane to take off with a few hours of uninterupted reading time in front of me. The story centers on an older and very dignified British gentleman and his friendship with Jasmina Ali, a local Pakistani woman who runs the small village grocery store.  While the story is predictable in some ways, it is the author’s spot-on observations that make this a delightful and worthwhile read.  Her comments about gernerational misunderstandings and differences are particularly wise and insightful.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is the perfect end-of-summer read, an enjoyable and often funny novel that has considerably brightened the “dog days” of August.   Hopefully, as the plane lands, I will have read the anticipated happy ending – and there will be no country music playing as I step into the terminal.

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