Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a wonderfully charming way to spend a couple of hours. It's funny, quaint, and even a wee bit shocking at times. This is the first Persephone I've read, but if it is any indication of how unique their titles are, I'm definitely interested.
You may have seen the movie with Frances McDormand and Amy Adams (that is where my familiarity with the story began) but whether you have or not, reading the book is well worth the time. It is quick paced and packed full of adventure. At the beginning of the day poor Miss Pettigrew has no idea what she is in for, and by the end of the day she's had the incredible fortune to have been swept off her feet and into a whole new circle of friends. This truly is a Cinderella story.
One of the things I loved was that the Cinderella-ish-ness wasn't based solely on the guy. There was that element, but the real change and miracle was in how Miss Pettigrew discovered her identity. She had muddled her way through life feeling like she wasn't good enough for her parents, wasn't competent enough for her work, wasn't attractive enough for marriage, and wasn't enjoyable enough for friends, and this single day changed all of that for her. Even though the book doesn't take place in modern times, I think it still applies. I think that it is amazing how much the opinion of others affects our view of ourselves, whether we'd like it to or not.
This is a book that manages to be a fairytale and somewhat grown up at the same time and it left me feel smiley and content. It's one I'll read again, and deserves a place on the shelf. Next time you need a little vacation, don't go out of town--read this book instead!
Title: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Author: Winifred Watson
Published: Persephone 2008 (orig. 1938)
My Rating: 5 stars