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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred…

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (1938)

by Winifred Watson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,9041375,731 (4.09)440
Miss Pettigrew, a governess looking for work, is sent by mistake to the home of Delysia LaFosse, a glamorous nightclub singer involved with three different men and is invited to stay after offering Miss LaFosse common sense advice about her love life.

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» See also 440 mentions

English (134)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (137)
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day follows a day in the life of middle-aged Miss Pettigrew as she applies for the job of a governess but is mistakenly sent to the home of nightclub singer, Miss LaFosse. Miss Pettigrew leads her new employer out of several scrapes with her many boyfriends and directs her to "Mr. Right". Along the way, Miss Pettigrew finds adventure and another side of herself that she never guessed existed.

I have to say I really enjoyed this book. I would have loved to have seen any of the female characters not HAVE to end up with a potential marriage, but I get that this book is a product of it's time. Overall, I enjoyed it as a light hearted comedic read. Definitely an early version of the romantic style comedy we all love today. ( )
  BookishHooker | Dec 16, 2019 |
Adorably light and sweet - a bit of fairy tale, a bit of romance, all wrapped in a glittering world gone by. ( )
  simplyjennifer | Oct 24, 2019 |
My first Persephone and what a charmingly dated delight*.

Even though the story took the concept to an extreme, the idea that chance encounters can change your life rang absolutely true. I particularly liked that Miss Pettigrew was a poor, friendless, ineffective governess/nursemaid spinster who was destined for the workhouse, a combination of character not usually featured in stories, least of all in the starring role.

It's easy to see why the book went out of print and also why Persephone brought it back.

*The times Miss Pettigrew eliminated the husband potential of the men because they were Italian or Jewish had me going yikes. ( )
  kitzyl | Aug 11, 2019 |
"All these years she had never had the wicked thrill of powdering her nose. Others had experienced that joy. Never she. And all because she lacked courage."

Miss Pettigrew is a middle-aged, down on her luck governess who has little hope of finding work and thus avoiding the workhouse when an employment agency surprising informs her that a vacancy has materialised. However, when she arrives at the given address she is met by a nightclub singer, Miss Lafosse, and no sign of any children. This is the tale of intervening 24 hours of her life.

On arrival at Miss Lafosse's apartment Miss Pettigrew finds herself is pulled into the decadent and muddled lives of Miss Lafosse and her friends. Miss Pettigrew slowly realises that she was merely existing rather than living so decides to embrace the experience, even if it’s just for one day.

Now I must admit that if it hadn't have been on the 1001 list I almost certainly would never have picked it up and that would have been a real shame as I would have missed out on a little gem. I read this book with a permanent smile on my face as Miss Pettigrew becomes ever more deeply drawn in to Miss Lafosse's and her friends' madcap way of life.

All of the characters are a delight to read. Miss Pettigrew is particular is a wonderful character and it is a real it pleasure to see alter over the course of the story. Her earlier life has been one of drudgery, with no family of her own she has no money and is on the verge of becoming homeless unable to pay her rent, this in turn means that she has a poor diet and old worn clothes. Suddenly she is exposed to a world of glamour and nightclubs, beautiful women, bounders and lovers. Gradually she shrugs off the vestiges of her staid existence. Enjoying the new experiences but with the knowledge that come the morning it will all be over and Miss Lafosse will see her for what she really is.

Equally Miss Delysia Lafosse is fabulous character, immoral, simultaneously seeing three different lover, but someone also looking for a mother figure to offer guidance something which she quickly realises that Miss Pettigrew can provide. Her friends wrapped up in their own lives accept Miss Pettigrew without any qualms never stopping to question who Miss Pettigrew is. They listen to her and delightedly baffle her by the same measures.

This a re-telling of the Cinderella story with Miss Lafosse as Miss Pettigrew's glamorous Fairy Godmother but it also has the feeling of an Ealing farce. The reader is pulled into a frantic world of the 1930's with beautiful decadent women in all their finery living in a world of heady, bohemian excitement and adventure on their own turns. OK some of the circumstances are a little dated now but in reality it is timeless. It’s a story about rebellion, about throwing off the shackles of your up-bringing every now and then a simply enjoying being alive. However, like a true fairytale you are left wondering whether or not Miss Pettigrew's newly discovered desire to experience the sensual pleasures of life will continue or is it finite and she reverts to her old ways? As I said before a little gem. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Jul 3, 2019 |
London. Miss Pettigrew describes herself as a dowdy spinster and bad governess (she's 40). She is also between jobs, hungry, and worrying about her future. Her agency sends her to apply for a governess job. She arrives and meets Delysia La Fosse--beautiful young nightclub singer, with 3 men at her fingertips, living life. In her day with Ms La Fosse, Miss Metigrew learns that she herself is bright, witty, clever, strong, beautiful, smart, and desirable. She experiences a nightclub, amazing food, alcohol, makeup, nice clothes, a fur, and modern life. The life she was raised to think of as bad. She learns it is fun and the people are a mix--nice, generous, rude, etc. Just like anywhere.

This novel is a fun romp with a satisfying ending. It would be excellent without a Italian slurs, which are totally unnecessary. I need to see the movie, I'm hoping they were left out. ( )
  Dreesie | Jun 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Winifred Watsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
McDormand, FrancesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murillo Fort, IsabelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, MaryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Twycross-Martin, HenriettaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Miss Pettigrew pushed open the door of the employment agency and went in as the clock struck a quarter past nine.
In a dull, miserable existence her one wild extravagance was her weekly orgy at the cinema, where for over two hours she lived in an enchanted world peopled by beautiful women, handsome heroes, fascinating villains, charming employers, and there were no bullying parents, no appalling offspring to tease, torment, terrify, harry her every waking hour.
What dangerous den of vice had she discovered? She must fly before she lost her virtue. Then her common sense unhappily reminded her that no one, now, would care to deprive her of that possession.
A knock on Miss LaFosse's door heralded adventure. It was not like an ordinary house, where the knocker would be the butcher, or baker or candlestick-maker. A knock on Miss LaFosse's door would mean excitement, drama, a new crisis to be dealt with. Oh, if only for once the Lord would be good and cause some miracle to happen to keep her here, to see for one day how life could be lived, so that for all the rest of her dull, uneventful days, when things grew bad, she could look back in her mind and dwell on the time when for one perfect day, she, Miss Pettigrew, lived.
All these years and she had never had the wicked thrill of powdering her nose. Others had experienced that joy. Never she. And all because she lacked courage. All because she had never thought for herself. Powder, thundered her father the curate, the road to damnation
She was not fifty yet, but some day she would be, with no home, no friends, no husband, no children. She had lived a life of spartan chastity and honour. She would still have no home or memories. Miss LaFosse would reach fifty some day. Suppose she reached it equally without home and friends. What then? How full would her memories be?
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