Miss. Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson – A Modern Fairy tale for Guaranteed Chuckles
16th May, 2017
A forty year old lady who struggles to make ends meet has an extraordinary day in the world of glitz and glam.
Set in London in the 1930s, Watson’s book captures a day in the life of Miss Guinevere Pettigrew. As the novel opens, Miss Pettigrew is in urgent need of a new job as a governess or a nanny, both of which she is not very good at. If she doesn’t secure a new position that day, she might be turned out of her house by the landlady. In a mix-up over the details at the employment agency, she ends up in the home of Miss Delysia LaFosse, a glamorous nightclub singer in need of a new maid. So Miss. Pettigrew walks in thinking she is employed as a nanny while Miss. LaFosse is delighted with her new maid who seems to fix everything unruly in her life.
I loved the character sketches in the book. Miss. Pettigrew is a forty year old, uninteresting, clumsy lady desperately in need of money. She is uptight about her morals and might seem as one who would be appalled by a lifestyle as that of Delysia. Miss. LaFosse is flighty, flirtatious, has three beaus, one for the money, one for launching her career and one for love, and has no qualms about spending her money (kindly provided by one of her men of course). Miss. Pettigrew seems to magically help Miss. LaFosse out of all her problems, be it dealing with her men or her insecurities, and in turn Miss. LaFosse is thrilled and showers her with appreciation, something Miss. Pettigrew has never experienced in her life. The women change each other over the course of the day and form a strong friendship that they would not have forged had they not met under the same circumstances. The book has wonderful side characters such as the scheming (unfaithful?) girlfriend, the rich businessman and so on which leave you with not one dull moment.
Miss. Pettigrew Lives for a Day is such a delightful and hilarious read. It is like a contemporary take on the Cinderella story, an adult fairy tale. Remember all those warm, fuzzy feelings you get when the soot smudged Cinderella has a wonderful night at the ball, thanks to her fairy Godmother? That is what this book will give you in a platter. The book is intended as a light read with humour and should be read with the same mind set. Which means, the funny passages about how Miss. Pettigrew gets in a conversation about establishing a business by being a gold-digger or Miss. LaFosse’s love life (juggling three men at a time), should be read for the laughs and not for brooding over what message the book gives. The novel is immensely funny and had me roaring with laughter and ended with me trying desperately to get a copy of the movie adaptation of the book. The movie was disappointing compared to the book. So I would whole heartedly recommend reading than watching about Miss. Pettigrew’s day.
I end the review with this passage from the book. If you love this one, chances are you will find your next enjoyable read in Winifred Watson’s story.
No longer were the damp November streets dreary. Fairy signs glittered on buildings. Magic horns hooted insistently. Palace lights shed a brilliant glow on the pavements. Avalon hummed, throbbed, pulsed, quivered with life. Bowler-hatted knights and luscious ladies hastened with happy faces for delightful destinations. Miss Pettigrew hastened with them, though much more aristocratically than on her own two legs. Now she, herself, had a destination. What a difference that made! All the difference in the world. Now she lived. Now she was inside of things. Now she took part. She breathed Ambrosial vapour.
Final Verdict :
The book was a wonderful read, full of light moments, the one that makes you feel like a happy reader when you close the book. This would be a perfect weekend read to relax with.
Title : Miss. Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Author : Winifred Watson
Publisher : Persephone Books
Published : 2008 (Originally 1938)
Language : English
Pages : 234
Rating : 4.5/5
Do you enjoy Persephone Books? Have you read or watched Miss. Pettigrew Lives for a Day?