Arabella's Reviews > Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes
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's review
Mar 01, 2010

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Read from March 01 to 14, 2010

I'm not sure how readers who hadn't grown up in England would find this book - it's extremely English and I'm sure many of the class nuances might go over the heads of readers from other backgrounds. It does throw an interesting light on the changes to England's class society during the decades immediately following the second world war, and how centuries-long traditions among the nobility were forced to reshape themselves to fit with new societal norms or die. But for non-English who are interested in understanding more of English class dynamics (for example how you can be upper-class but poor, or working class but rich) and prejudices, this does a great job in bringing them to life.

The other interesting aspect of this book is the protagonist revisiting his friends of his youth after 4 decades to find out how their lives have turned out. Somewhat like looking them up old friends and classmates on Facebook but for the older generation. Some of blossomed and conquered old demons, while others have failed to fulfill their potential.

I enjoyed this book, but felt it was let down by some of the more ridiculous scenes (such as the spiked brownies at one of the debutante balls) and the tied up in a bow ending.
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