Helen Simonson fills her novel with interesting, realistic characters that you can't help but care about, even the ones that makes you want to shake reason into their silly, selfish heads. Her description of a small English village and all its inhabitants is at times funny, at times frustrating and always believable (unfortunately).
I love the fact that the main characters aren't young or in their prime, it's very refreshing and makes you reflect about life not being over just because you've passed the age of seventy. Also, the love story (or rather, love stories) is rather heart-breaking at times.
I love this book. Go read it.
If this book does not make you smile, your heart has irrevocably hardened. Major Pettigrew begins as a caricature and ends up as a genuine and likeable human being. This story of British manners, class, culture and redemption brings with it a diverse and fascinating cast of characters, and it is hard to believe that this is Helen Simonson's first novel. Major Pettigrew is 68, has been widowed, and lives alone in his comfortable cottage in a comfortable village with a comfortable group of friends. He slowly recognizes that he has more life to live, and he begins to ponder how he will spend it.
Enter Mrs. Ali, a Pakistani woman who owns the local shop. She helps Major Pettigrew look at the world in a different way and the outcome is funny, a bit suspenseful and completely heartwarming. Sometimes I regret the hours I have spent listening to an unsatisfying book (for I, too, am 68 years old), but every minute of this book was a pleasure. It has a rhythm to it that is comforting, and the narrator, while showing a slight speech impediment, clearly enjoyed the book as much as I.
I only regret that Ms. Simonson has not yet finished her next book. I await it with relish.
Listens while running
Yes--and I have to my parents. (They liked it a lot.) This book is just wonderful, and the narration makes it such a pleasure to listen to. This may come across as a backhanded compliment, but I don't mean it in that way: It's like the very best chick lit, but for men too.
Most of the characters and situations in the book are a bit one-dimensional and familiar as quaint English village types, but somehow the book transcends that with the two main characters who are both much more interesting than they originally appear.
The title mid led my idea of what this would be about so I was delighted when it all together different than I expected. I loved the characters and how they dealt with the feelings of the characters.
Yes, because of the many different storylines woven into one man's village life.
Among the many scenes which will stay with me is the party put on by the ladies' committee at the country club.
His very British accent brings the major truly to life.
The major himself, and although he was in some ways more reminiscent of an earlier generation (i.e. Agatha Christie characters), I found him extremely appealing.
I listen to books while I walk my dog, turning even the dreariest rain and cold into a wonderful escape.
I loved this book so much, I talked everyone on my team at work into buying it too. The characters were unique, charming and well-drawn, the language and accents utterly entertaining, and the story utterly satisfying. Listening felt like I was eating a delicious piece of candy the whole time and it was so enjoyable, I was sad when the story ended.
If you like Alexander McCall Smith's
I especially liked the contrast between his son Roger's 21st century behavior
(young professional on the rise in London) and Major Pettigrew's standards
(post WWII English military, old family pride). It made for humorous conflict and
Mrs. Ali was the wisest, kindest, most interesting character. She brings out Major Pettigrew's best traits.
Absolutely. Surprising characters that grow and change in amazing ways.
An everyperson's Jane Austen, maybe. A close--and sympathetic--look at life and society in our times. Not for women only--the men take the lead in this book.
He simply brought every single character to life.
Can friendship turn to love in time to beat back social prejudices, religious conservatism, AND...ENCROACHING SUBURBIA....?
Oh, I did enjoy this one the first time, and the second...and the third...and the fourth...and maybe I'll go listen to it again now.
Everything about this book and the reading is just about perfect. The narrative is skillfully constructed to reveal character and events; the prose is witty, insightful, often funny; the main characters are extremely engaging; and the reading is skillful, especially since there are numerous characters and a wide variety of voices and accents. What is really special about this book, however, is how the author addresses several really important issues in the context of a romantic comic novel - love, loyalty, families, parenting of adult children, aging, racism, xenophobia. It's so satisfying that when I finished I started it all over again, just to be able to listen and hear how well structured it is.
I will say that I had my doubts for the first few minutes, but I was hooked the minute Mrs. Ali came on the scene. A real winner.