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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (1938)

by Winifred Watson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,1121516,393 (4.08)465
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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English (147)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (150)
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
On the one hand -- it's hilarious. It's an utterly charming book about a woman who has an astounding day that turns her entire life around. It's full of delightful and intriguing young things living their best lives who embrace the unexpected arrival of a dowdy and ineffectual governess by seeing into her best qualities. It's a great story, well told, and it's a delightful way to spend the afternoon.

On the other hand, it's very much a product of its times -- it's racist, misogynistic, classist and callous and that's not a good look on anyone. ( )
  jennybeast | Aug 30, 2022 |
This was a quick and quirky story. Loved the little illustrations. But, I found most of the characters flat. I must say I liked the movie better. ( )
  christyco125 | Jul 4, 2022 |
A good quick read. Reminds me of Flowers for Mrs Harris. A feel good book. ( )
  SteveMcI | Jul 2, 2022 |
Miss Pettigrew, an approaching-middle-age governess, was accustomed to a household of unruly English children. When her employment agency sends her to the wrong address, her life takes an unexpected turn. The alluring nightclub singer, Delysia LaFosse, becomes her new employer, and Miss Pettigrew encounters a kind of glamour that she had only met before at the movies. Over the course of a single day, both women are changed forever.

I got this just as the film had been announced (although I have still to see it). This is the tale of the Miss Pettigrew, a middle aged spinster who is treated to an experience of how the other half live when she is accidentally sent to apply for a job at the wrong address. She is then adopted by beautiful nightclub singer Miss LaFosse and this book covers the 24 hours after her arrival at the flat.

Miss Pettigrew is somewhat out of her depth, being presented with situations that she has no experience of or able to give advice. However, her silence and stoic behaviour make other people make their own decisions (which should had been made years before had they simply had the nerve).
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
Miss Pettigrew is despairing of finding another job as a governess in 1930's England. Although she dislikes the work she is reliant on the income but governess positions are now hard to find. She is fading and looks drab and old. Unwanted by anyone, she arrives at a new job interview with desperate hopes. Somehow she's been sent to the wrong address and is embroiled instead into the life and drama of a nightclub singer, Miss LaFosse. The novel tracks Miss Pettigrew through a whole day which is an unusual literary device but here it works really well. We meet a varying array of characters including several of Miss LaFosse's lovers whom she needs serious help managing. See more: https://readableword.wordpress.com/2021/05/09/miss-pettigrew-lives-for-a-day-by-... ( )
  Nicky24 | Oct 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 147 (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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First words
Miss Pettigrew pushed open the door of the employment agency and went in as the clock struck a quarter past nine.
Quotations
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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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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