The Major and his adult son, Roger, don't get on well. Do you think the relationship between a parent and their adult children (and between an adult child and their aging parents) is inevitably tricky?
Join Date: 11/16/10
Join Date: 04/21/11
I thought the scenes between Major Pettigrew and Roger were hilarious. In the beginning, Roger was pretty insufferable, with his obsession with upward mobility and appearances and, while I warmed to him throughout the book, I found myself wondering how someone so wonderful as Major Pettigrew would have an offspring like Roger. I kept expecting Roger to "double-cross" the Major with the possible sale of the heirloom firearms. I guess it's to his credit that he did not. And in the end, he redeemed himself a bit.
Join Date: 04/21/11
Join Date: 04/24/11
Being a parent of two adult daughters, I could very well relate to the relationship between Major Pettigrew and Roger. It was difficult for Major Pettigrew to keep his thoughts to himself at times and try to allow his son to be an adult. It was difficult to imagine where and how Roger developed his attitudes and beliefs as they were so opposite Major Pettigrew's character. It made me wonder what Major Pettigrew's wife was like.
Join Date: 05/07/11
From experience, I find you can only "suggest" to an adult child. When an adult child's behavior goes against the grain, as Roger's did, you just have to hope for the best that good will win out over evil. As the mother of adult children, I have always said that babies are so adorable and lovable so that you can remember those qualities when they are adults and you do not always approve of their actions. I think you can credit the excesses of the "me" generation for Roger's selfish behavior.
Join Date: 05/05/11
I am finding it difficult to accept how much of a condescending manner is used by the younger generations portrayed in this book to the older generation. I have two adult children, and five adult siblings and I don't see the level of patronization from adult child to parent that I feel this book is portraying. I am only 2/3 through the book but the younger generation certainly seems to have few redeeming qualities so gfar in the story.
Join Date: 04/14/11
I found Pettigrew's and Roger's relationship totally fascinating. Remember, we are really seeing Roger through Pettigrew's eyes. And in that way, Roger was a bit of a selfish disappointment. But many other parents might revel in his ambition.
I definitely think many adult/child relationships are challenged when the child becomes an adult because the parent has trouble accepting the independence of the child and acknowledging it. They wish to continue to parent and influence their child's decision making well past the point where that is appropriate.
Pettigrew was not totally blameless in his relationship with Roger. He was very quick to judge - - writing off Sandy initially for really no reason other than she was overly friendly. I think it is natural to pull away from people who are judgmental and to discount their judgments more frequently even if some of them may be appropriate.
Join Date: 04/17/11
I enjoyed this novel on many levels. I felt it worked as a love story, as a coming of age story for both father and son and an exploration of cultural differences. But, my favorite level is the generational slice. I found myself comparing myself and my 36 year old daughter in Oakland with Major Pettigrew and his son.
Our children underestimate our abilities because we're retired. They assume we can't handle our own affairs and any decisions we make must be flawed and by extension they assume their decisions are correct. My daughter is constantly saying, "Mom, is this something we need to discuss?" I try to be her cheerleader, while she questions everything I do or say. I found Major Pettigrew's dilemma and resulting solutions comforting and very familiar.
Join Date: 04/14/11
I think all parent and child relationships can be "tricky", but that is the point of family. You love them, but they can drive you crazy a little or a lot. Adult children who have not grown up, well I'm sure that is exasperating. I'm sure the Major thinks Roger is all about the appearance, and wonders if he is at fault.
Join Date: 04/13/11
I agree that all relationships between children and their parents can be tricky but especially when they are all adults and have had different life experiences and different views of what is important in life. Who is to say which is wrong or which is right since they are all based on their own experiences and their own priorities.
Join Date: 05/08/11
I think all relationships can be tricky and since your relationship changes when your child becomes an adult it can also be tricky. I agreed with a previous poster that none of the young people in the book seemed to be portrayed in a very favorable light.
Since the Major's wife had only been dead 6 years it could be that only in the past 5 - 6 years has he really dealt with Roger one on one, and if the first few years Roger was in school there really wasn't much for them to actually discuss, etc. So he probably really didn't have much of a basis for a relationship.
I think most adult children want you to be available if they want advice (assuming the advice you give is what they want to hear) but otherwise don't want you to know or be involved with what they are doing. It seemed to me that in Major Pettigrew it it was the children who were telling the parents what to do and I found that made the children much less likable.
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