"At first, I didn't think Angela was going to like this book. It looked like it might be a tad laborious and slow-moving, but fortunately, she seemed to 'take' to the book fairly quickly, which helped put a damper on all her wander-lust, antsy, I-want-to-run-away-to-Mt.-Rushmore-itis. *sigh* The power of a good book. . . .
The book is about Major Pettigrew, a 68 year old stiff-upper-lip, very proper Englishman, living in Edgcumbe, St. Mary. His circle of acquaintances consists primarily of other members of his social class, who believe themselves to be the Upholders of Propriety, but are mostly petty, crass and mean-spirited. His world view is called into question when he meets and falls in love with Mrs. Ali, a Pakistani woman and shopkeeper. Predictably, his investment in upholding "standards" starts to crumble, and he has to confront his own flaws, and views about what makes life good and valuable in his particular world.
His changes in perspective are challenged by his rather self-interested son, who sees his own hopes for a fatherly demise and a convenient inheritance being threatened by the Major's new love. Roger is not a bad son; he's just overwhelmingly self-absorbed until he has his own awakenings.
Being good at my dog-dom, I watched Angela carefully as she read this book. She laughed--not that great gusto, good dog kind of laugh, but those subtle satisfied-amused kind of laughs that humans have. She liked the language. She liked understated things like "Already there was an awkward intimacy, as if he had stumbled against her body in a crowd." . . . and then the English guy getting all hot and bothered and tongue-tied and distressed. And then, "He searched for the right word, recoiling from 'intimacy' as if it were sticky with lust." Yeah. Lots of action there! Give me a rabbit to chase! Dog courtship is most definitely more straightforward, but you probably don't want to hear about it!. But Angela likes this stuff, so I indulge her. . . .
Or this, "It is a fact of life, I suppose, that the younger generation must try to take over and run the lives of their elders."
Or this: "Part of a larger crisis in the culture, of course. My mother always blamed it on decimalization."
Or this, a real thigh-slapper: "But I must ask you, do you really understand what it means to be in love with an unsuitable woman?" "My dear boy," said the Major, "Is there really any other kind?"
???? People! Imagine MY social status in my neighborhood if I tried to court my doggy friends this way!
But I love my people, and if you're anything like them you MIGHT like this book! Angela did!"