Lizzie's Reviews > Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
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's review
May 23, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2011, fiction
Read from May 23 to June 04, 2011

A charming novel written in 1938 about a frumpy, down on her luck governess who’s sent by mistake to apply for a job as a lady's maid for a singer. The singer immediately takes her into her confidence and Miss Pettigrew spends the next 24 hours helping the lovely artiste and her friends with their love lives, being made over and being surprised at her own attractiveness, going to a party and night club, and emerging with a new life. The original pen and ink drawings add to the appeal.
There's a pleasant theme of making one's self over, since everybody Miss Pettigrew meets has changed their name or appearance, and nearly everyone has crossed class. So why not Miss Pettigrew?
Since it was written in 1938 there are things like references to a man not being a suitable husband because he has "traces of Jew about him", and an Italian being unfit to be in the room with a white woman.
I hear there’s a movie version which I probably won’t get around to seeing.
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Tria Oh, I recommend the movie, in actual fact. They skip a lot, perforce, but it keeps a great deal of the original substance and feeling of the book (Edythe being the only major exception, though they alter Phil's and Michael's positions in life just slightly to make it all more believable to a modern audience); Amy Adams makes an utterly perfect Delysia and Frances McDormand as Miss Pettigrew is equally delightful.

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