Monday, March 14, 2011

Major Pettigrew

When our book discussion group selected Major Pettigrew's Last Stand for March, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed. We have been on a British streak lately, which suits me just fine. I find that books by English authors have two speeds....clipped sentences and whirlwind pacing, or gentle and meandering. This book falls into the second category. Having spent an extended period of time in Sittingbourne in Kent County, where much of this novel unfolds, I can assure you that the author has captured the spirit of village life. That alone kept me reading.
On one level, this is a beautiful love story. Beneath the gently winding plot is a story filled with dynamics, game playing, loneliness, and the irrationality of judgement based ethnicity. Mrs. Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper, is treated civilly by the villagers until she gets too close to penetrating their inner circle. Suppressed attitudes are no longer suppressed, and she learns all too abruptly where she truly stands. Mrs. Ali is a character to admire. She handles everything with such dignity; even the rudest of her critics is treated with respect.
For me, Mrs. Ali ranks up with my most admired protagonist, Atticus Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird. These two have certainly been role models for me, although I will never be able to rise to their level. Never hurts to keep trying though!
Here's my gripe of the week....A twenty-something woman with a cell phone attached to her ear, pulled in to the very first handicapped parking spot at Copps last week. She jumped out of her car, and didn't even have the decency to look around to determine if anyone saw how inconsiderate she was being. I have decided that I need to point out these bad moves, so I simply asked, "Excuse me, did you park in that spot my mistake?" She mumbled something about not being able to walk far, and rushed off into the store, looking quite healthy and able. She spent a lot of time dodging me in the isles, which told me she at least has a bit of a conscience, and perhaps will make better choices in this small matter in the future.
Enough for now. Thanks for stopping by.

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