Review: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Winifred Watson (1938)

“I vamped the boss.”“She simply stood and let elation pour through her like a shot of Nick’s cocaine.”

“Last gesture before entering a room—powder your nose. It gives a sense of confidence.”

These are just a few gems from this thoroughly delightful Cinderella story concerning an English governess nearly at the end of her employment rope. Guinevere Pettigrew shows up for a job interview that unexpectedly catapults her into a whirlwind social spree among the cocktail set of London. For one day, the middle-aged Miss Pettigrew throws caution to the wind when she becomes companion to Delysia LaFosse, an actress with serious man troubles.

With the charm and escapism of a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers’ movie and the flowing liquor and hilarious slang of a great Thin Man film, Miss Pettigrew is a complete delight to read and tremendous fun.

Note: Be sure to read the “Persephone Classics” version, chock-full of witty illustrations.


2 thoughts on “Review: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

  1. I absolutely adore this book. I read it some years ago when persephone reprinted it and read it straight through with no stops at all. I have since re-read it I don’t know how many times and am waiting for the film to be issued on DVD. Needless to say it did not make this corner of the UK. The black and white illustrations are witty and fun and the entire book is sheer delight from start to finish.

  2. Just as I enjoy watching The Thin Man every few years, I could see picking this book up every once in a while. Both would serve as a great pick-me-up. And the film version (which I missed) is at the top of my Netflix queue.

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