When an employment agency accidentally sends her to the wrong address, a governess finds herself caught up in the glitz and glamor of the 1930s English Elite. It has taken 40 years, but finally, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.
You know how you have those things you can’t imagine yourself ever saying, everrrr?
For me, one of those sayings is: The movie was better than the book.
And yet, here I am. Saying it.
In my defense, I was bored at home, alone on a Friday night scanning movies on Amazon and looking for something to watch. When I saw Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, I knew I recognized the name and assumed it was a movie a friend had recommended to me. So I watched it. And enjoyed it. Immensely.
Oops. It was the book I had been recommended. And not personally, I saw it on one of Anne Bogel’s lists. Yes. It’s all coming back to me.
Anyway. I really enjoyed the movie! Except, I don’t review movies here and I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea where to start.
But I do know books. And Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day baffles me. The prose is straightforward. The plot, a direct line. There aren’t many twists and fewer turns. Altogether, when I was through with the book, I was satisfied.
The problem is, I really was never entertained. It’s a charming story. Poor Miss Guinevere Pettigrew grew up under the unsettling views of her vicar father. He seems to be a man of judgment and not of mercy and, as such, Miss Pettigrew has lived in fear over doing all the morally wrong things all of her live long life.
When she stumbles into the life of Miss LaFosse , Miss Pettigrew comes to understand the real meaning of virtue (although in not so many words!). In turn, she uses the truth of what she knows about real virtue to help out her new high society “friends” enjoy their lives and live more (a teensy weensy bit more)…virtuously. So to speak. Ahem.
The book was published in 1938 and there are a few signs of the times included in the book. An unfavorable comment about Jews and a weird banter between a man and a woman regarding physical abuse (I still can’t tell if the latter was a joke). I never know how to fully process these kinds of comments (aside from being scandalized when I read them) and usually wind up just reading on. If I am scandalized too many times, I put the book down. I didn’t find I needed to abandon it in this case.
Back to the charming part of the adult fairy tale. On paper it works.
It just never captured my heart.
But the movie, now that’s another review…