DNF: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

Helen Simonson

368 pages

Random House

Source: Publisher


Why I didn’t finish this book:

  1. There wasn’t enough to push me to read more. As much as I love the character Mrs. Ali, just from the few scenes that she was in, she was the only character I cared about. Major Pettigrew was an interesting character but. . .
  2. I’m pretty sure I know how the plot is going to turn out: Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali will get together, there’s going to be some controversy because the two come from completely different lives and class.
  3. My purpose for reading has changed in the past few months, so I’m not really reading for entertainment right now. This is a good book but now isn’t the right time to read it.


If you haven’t read this book yet, here’s why you will probably enjoy it:

  1. Simonson can write a sentence like it’s no one’s business. I love a great sentence. Here’s a jewel that I found while reading: It surprised him that his grief was sharper than in the past few days. He had forgotten that grief does not decline in a straight line or along a slow curve like a graph in a child’s math book. Instead, it was almost as if his body contained a big pile of garden rubbish full of heavy lumps of dirt and of sharp thorny bush that would stab him when he least expected it.
  2. If I was reading for pleasure and entertainment, this book is what I would want to curl up with to forget about the world. I was about 100 pages in when I decided to stop reading it and I could see that.
  3. The book covers big issues like racism and class is a way that doesn’t talk down to readers.
  4. I’m in the minority with this book, so pick it up for yourself and decide.



About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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30 Responses to DNF: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

  1. Trish says:

    Well, they can’t all work! I’ve been hearing rave things about this one, so it’s about time we see another side. I’m not a big fan of predictability either these days. Hope the next one is better for you!

  2. Ash says:

    All good reasons for quitting a book I’d say. I’ve never really had any desire to read this book so I probably will not read it.

  3. heidenkind says:

    This sounds like a sweet book. I’ll probably pick it up at some point.

    I had almost the same experience with another very good book this week–Mistress of Nothing. Great writing, but it just wasn’t doing anything for me. Oh well.

  4. Wow, I’m so surprised! But I would say this book moved more slowly at first than after one got into it. I’ve seen too that reviews either seem really to like it or to be quite Meh over it! :–)

  5. Good job stopping a book you weren’t loving. I have such a hard time with that one myself. I’ve read some good things about this one, but predictable plots to sort of annoy me.

  6. Gavin says:

    I understand why this one didn’t click for you. I needed “entertainment” when I read it and am glad I did. You have several books on your nightstand list that look really interesting including the Kahlo diary and Reading Is My Window. More books to add to my library list!

  7. bermudaonion says:

    It just sounds like a case of the wrong book for you right now.

  8. Jenny says:

    That is a great sentence. I have been feeling like a fiction-reading binge, and this is one I’ve been fancying for a while.

  9. JoAnn says:

    This may be the best DNF post I’ve ever read! Certainly understand your reasons for putting this aside… I needed cozy entertainment that also included ‘bigger issues’ when I read it last month.

  10. Suzanne L. says:

    Even though it wasn’t your cup of tea RIGHT NOW, you did a great job of reviewing! Sometimes you really have to be in a particular frame of mind to read something. I find that with my reading group. Some of the selections I have to struggle with because they aren’t really what I’m in the mood for. I picked this book up at BEA this year and have been waiting for the right time to read it. I decided that it would make a good reading group choice, and from your description of the plusses of reading it, I think I am making the right choice. Thanks for sharing this one!

  11. iliana says:

    I think sometimes books just need to be read at the right time and it sounds like this was just not the right time for you. I haven’t read this one but to me it sounds like a comfort read. One day I’d like to get to it.

  12. kai charles says:

    what a great idea to do a post like this! i just started keeping a list of what books I dont finish but i only do posts if its a review book. Thanks for visitng my blog 🙂

  13. Kailana says:

    I didn’t like this book much at all… I was thinking I was alone on that!

  14. I have thought about reading this book, but I worry about many of the issues you raise. I don’t read for pure entertainment much – I need a bit more depth than that. I think I’ll avoid it for now.

  15. Bellezza says:

    I can see why you abandoned it. I was tempted to myself, in several places, but I’m glad I hung on. Not because of the relationship between Jasmina and Major Pettigrew, nor necessarily for the way it addresses race/cultural issues. What I liked best was what Major Pettigrew learned about himself at the conclusion.

  16. zibilee says:

    Thanks for being honest about your thoughts and reactions on the book. I also agree with Kathy that this is probably a case of the wrong book at the wrong time.

  17. Wallace says:

    Yes, this one is definitely to be read for pleasure.. as you said, her writing is beautiful and the biggest treat of the book. Although the plot is not as predictable as you think, I had my own problems with it — but in conclusion ended up still really liking the book. I, like you, have certain timing issues with books. Sometimes I’ll put a book down because I hate it only to read it a year later and put it on my favorites list, haha! (Not that this is what will happen for you — but I always think it’s funny when it happens to me).

  18. Frances says:

    You are so even-handed, so fair! I wish you had enjoyed it as much as I did but maybe another time. I have actually been considering a re-read of this.

  19. Jodie says:

    Sometimes book and time just don’t match, which is sad, but there’s always another time and another book. What’s your current purpose for reading if you don’t mind me asking?

  20. Andi says:

    Sorry to hear you didn’t finish, but if it wasn’t in line with your reading goals and purposes right now, I totally understand. I’m planning to read it sooner than later. Haven’t been able to get it from the library, so maybe when I have some free-flowin’ cash. 🙂

  21. Nicole says:

    It’s good to know that this is a pure pleasure read. I can pick it up in the middle of some of my heavier reading. I am glad that you pointed this out. I am not sure that I had picked up on that aspect in quite this way from other reviews.

  22. kay says:

    Interesting way to present a book! I am reading for entertainment these days, so I would consider reading this one! I’ll look if my library has it.

  23. I’m sorry that this book wasn’t a good fit for you right now, but I do understand what you’re saying – I’m like you in that I need the right book for the right time. I like how you presented the review though!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  24. Pingback: Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, on tour January/February 2011 | TLC Book Tours

  25. Bree says:

    I love how you made a list of whys and why nots. It’s a perfect way to promote a book even if you didn’t finish it. May have to steal this idea from you.

  26. kiss a cloud says:

    Vasilly, might I ask what mood of reading you are in? Or I mean what type of books are pulling you in right now? Just curious. 🙂 I sometimes feel like “entertaining” books are a waste of my time and then sometimes I am hankering for them, lol. Right now I might be in the middle, sort of.

  27. Beth F says:

    You’re mostly right that the plot is a bit predictable but not quite in the way you think. On the other hand, I’m all for abandoning books that aren’t quite right for me, for whatever reason.

    I thought it was a charming book and very well written.

  28. Marie says:

    I’m really sorry to hear this didn’t work for you. Yes, the plot is somewhat predictable but… oh well:-) nothing’s gonna be right for everyone.i hope you don’t regret giving it a try 🙂

  29. bookmagic says:

    This has been on my list for awhile but I have just not been motivated to get it. My cousin didn’t really like it and we have similar tastes. I most likely will just pass on this

  30. toothy says:

    sorry to see that you couldn’t finish the book. i’ve seen some great reviews of this book and quickly added it to my wishlist, but after seeing your reasons as to why you couldn’t finish it, i’m reconsidering.

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