Modern Reader

"Never trust anyone who has not

brought a book with them"

-Lemony Snicket

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson As an American it's easy to be offended by this book--much of the descriptions are not complimentary, and are, on the whole, stereotypical. Considering the author has lived in America for the past 20 years I find it hard to believe that she can't at least tolerate us. That being said, the point of this wonderful book was to recognize stereotypes and the judgmental tendencies of a society set in their ways. So for those who felt like Simonson was going out of her way to criticize Americans, quite honestly you're just illustrating the point! The intelligent character of Jasmina Ali was so even tempered despite the appropriation of her culture and the blatant Islamophobia directed towards her from the community in which she lived. The Major, whose appreciation of manners and all things purely English, could have easily been seen as brash and snobbish, but upon developing a friendship with the outed Mrs. Ali, readers come to realize that he too is influenced by prejudice, though he is able to see through it and fall in love with a woman he had never expected to fall in love with. When I picked this book up a few years ago I couldn't see how I would be able to understand or feel emotionally connected to a romance between a 58 year old woman and a 68 year old man. However, now I consider this to be one of the sweetest, most honest love stories ever written.