Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, Winifred Watson
“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.”
Back in April, Kat Brown wrote about how, when doing her tax return, she discovered that, in one year, she had bought seven copies of Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day as gifts, and “it’s got to the stage where I dole out my favourite like medicine”. So when, several months later, I was feeling particularly rotten, she suggested I read it. I dutifully went into Waterstones on an otherwise dull shopping trip, and picked up the spectacularly beautiful Persephone Books edition, and have been reading it on the train.
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is a modern-day fairytale about female friendship, and the kindness of strangers, and romance. Miss Pettigrew arrives at a fancy address to apply for a new job, to find herself caught up in the whirlwind that is Miss LaFosse, and a day of adventure. It is exquisite. Gentle, and hopeful, and intriguing, with makeovers, and dates, and parties, and excitement. Miss Pettigrew felt familiar, particular her fear of offending and intruding, and I found I could easily relate to her and her decisions. I found its approach to sexuality, acceptance and shame refreshing. Most of all, I relished Miss Pettigrew’s decision to embrace everything that she had previously avoided, choosing how own enjoyment over others’ opinions.
I am incredibly grateful to Kat for wearing me down until I got round to reading this, and I feel ridiculous for not reading it sooner. I think I, too, will start recommending it left, right and centre, and I expect I shall return to it in times of sadness and hopelessness.
Other categories that Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day fits into: a book that became a movie, a book by a female author, a mystery or thriller, a book a friend recommended, a book you can finish in a day, a book with a love triangle, a book with magic, a book by an author you’ve never read before, a book that takes place in your hometown