Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Random Thoughts     Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson, Persephone  2008 (orig 1936), 234 pages

Challenge:  What’s in a Name 5:  Something on a Calendar, #601 on 1001 Books To Read Before You Die (or at least the list I’m using)

First Sentence:  “Miss Pettigrew pushed open the door of the employment agency and went in as the clock struck a quarter past nine.”

First FULL read of the year.   Thus?  did this book kick off the year on a good note?  YES!

Quote from blurb on book:  “Miss Pettigrew is irresistible, a perfect mix of wistfulness and joy, substance and froth.”  – Tracy Chevalier

Review in 7-10-7 Haiku:
Is Miss Pettigrew naive?  /  She can handle her own when needs arise; / One madcap helluva day!

Book I now have to read because it was mentioned in the Preface:  Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm*

Where did I get this book?   From my friend Karen at Books and Chocolate for the Persephone Holiday Exchange.

Who will I give it to?  I think Miss Madeline will have to read it.  I love her responses to books and this might shock her a tiny bit in a fun way.  After than, Holly must read it and then it’s fair game.

Interesting CONNECTIONS:  This book is one that has a ONE DAY IN THE LIFE timeframe, as does Mrs. Dalloway and ____?______, perhaps Saturday by Ian McEwan?  Any suggestions for more?  I have the category set up here but not in goodreads (ok, got it NOW) and my search of my posts only brought up One Day by David Nicholls and that was more one-calendar-day snippets across many years.

My Rating:   

What did I think of the cover?   Just OK. Blush is applied too heavy.  The drawings inside the text were great.

Thoughts on fashion:  LOVED the glimpses into fashion and advice for looking young.

Slang:  Yes, glorious old-world British slang and some American, too, from that time period of between-the-Wars

Movie:   I have already seen the movie and tried not to *see* the actors in my head but not sure I succeeded. But it didn’t ruin it.  I do think Frances McDormand is a fabulous choice for Miss Pettigrew.    I want to see the flick again!

Discuss the ending:   [SPOILERS!?!?]  Well, now I ask, how is Miss Pettigrew going to ‘date’ this lingerie company guy and also run a house for our lovely Miss LaFosse?  But I did love that the book had a happy ending.

Who would I recommend this to:   Anyone who loves fashion, madcap adventure, sticking up for oneself, rags to riches, and flirting.

Who knew?   I find it most interesting that our author wrote typical ‘country’ tales and then wrote this (and also later wrote a mystery)  – which was ‘against type’ and was able to get it published anyway.  And then gave it all up (the being a writer thing) for a different life as life had ‘other plans’.

WORDS for Wednesday:      
marcel – a deep artificial wave in the hair.
prevaricated – speak or act in an evasive way.
cynosure – a person or thing that is the center of attention or admiration.
vamp – verb [ trans.] blatantly set out to attract : she had not vamped him like some wicked Jezebel.  

‘Oh, that,’ said Miss Dubarry. ‘That was very simple. I vamped the boss.’   …    ‘I was always clever that way.’



* I am seeing this book title EVERYWHERE. I think the universe is telling me I must read it.


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31 thoughts on “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

    1. Hi Annie! These are very interesting! A tee without sleeves. I do think of that famous mime marcel marceau. He was probably French but I don’t think I ever really thought about it.
      I’m sorry that I do not know much French – but I can introduce you to a blogger that lives in France and is an English to French translator – email me and I’ll send the link. or comment reply here. or maybe I’ll just send you an email directly. (I think I’m making this complicated.)

    1. I’ve been wanting to read it ever since I saw the extras on the movie DVD where they talked to the Winifred’s son about the book. The author sounded wonderful.

  1. I’ve read (and enjoyed) a few Persephone books so far but haven’t read this one yet. I love “day in the life” type books. I know there is a movie but I haven’t see that one yet either. I better pick-up the pace!

    1. For some reason, I have been assuming Cold Comfort Farm was looooooonnnnnnnngggg and of many pages. I have no idea why I thought it was a chunkster but goodreads is showing the paperback is under 300 pages. Yippee!

  2. I have this beautiful (inside the cover) book in the Persephone edition sitting on my shelf. I loved the movie. And, I do remember when someone would say they had a marcel hair style.

  3. Loved the movie, haven’t read the book. I don’t recall learning new words from the movie, but marcel and cynosure would have been new. I’m pretty sure that I saw marcel hair styles in the movie!

  4. I read this two years ago and loved it so much, that I gave a copy to my mother for her birthday. I think it’s funny and whimsical and charming and just the thing to cheer anyone up. It’s lovely to see you enjoyed it as much, too! A lovely way to start the new year of reading, I must agree 🙂

  5. I’m so glad you liked — it’s my very first Persephone so it will always have a special place in my heart. I loved it and I also love the audiobook narrated by Frances McDormand.

    And speaking of Marcel — if you haven’t seen it, check out this adorable video on YouTube, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”. It’s really sweet.

  6. I loved that movie, but (like others here) didn’t realize it was a book. Amy Adams is so delicious in that role, and Frances really is stunning. I love the way she keeps almost getting something to eat…well, no I don’t. It’s actually something I hate a lot in movies, when the characters are hungry and keep getting pisgah views of food. But I love it in that movie because at the end…she is going to get to eat.

  7. I’ve only seen the movie but would love to read the book one day! I’m sure there must be other books that take place in a single day but my memory is going blank. And will now drive me crazy until I can think of another!!

  8. Thanks for reminding me to pick this one up (and watch the movie as well). Do, do read Cold Comfort Farm – but I would also highly recommend the movie adaptation with Rupert Sewell, Kate Beckinsale and Ian McKellan.

  9. Pingback: Book & Movie: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day | Iris on Books

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