Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, by Winifred Watson, was first published in 1938. The recently released film starring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams has again brought the novel back into the public eye. Listed as one of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, the review states:

Over the course of the day, in a series of deft interventions, witty misunderstandings and brilliant repartee, Miss Pettigrew is revealed as a lifesaver. A delightful, intelligent and naughty novel which reminds us that it is never too late to live.

The novel was a bestseller when it was released in 1938, but I can imagine how some would have considered it quite scandalous. Miss Pettigrew is a middle-aged governess and the daughter of a curate who comes in contact with Miss LaFosse, whom I'll describe as a woman of "riotous living". Each woman has an impact on the other that will change them forever.

The book is a bit naughty, but is also a pure delight. The recent edition released by Persephone Classics includes the original typeset and illustrations which I found perfectly charming. The book is fast-paced and reads like a play, with a lot of dialog. I was hoping that the movie would stay true to the book, but it appears from the trailer that it does take quite a few liberties. Nevertheless, I'm excited to see it.


Rae said...

Sometimes I feel like I'm completely out of the loop! I had not heard of "Miss Pettigrew" until the recent release in theaters! I swear I live with my head in the sand at times!!! Yet another book to add to my to-read list!

Suzy said...

Thanks for the review. I had thought the movie looked really cute, but I didn't know there was a book. I will have to add it to my list.