Live for a Day
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to live in another person’s shoes for a day? Or what you might be like if your life situation were different? Now, I am not suggesting you go and make yourself all discontent with your life by doing this. I am a big believer of trying to be content in the moment instead of living in some other moment that is not yours. However, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us can say that we have done this at some point, especially during those discontented teenage years.
It is a popular fantasy, and one in which you can indulge safely when you read Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson. This was really a fun read. I can see why it was made into a movie (which I have not seen, but will try to get to it soon) because it is a great story that moves along quickly.
Miss Pettigrew is a middle aged governess/nanny who is just about as drab and boring and terrible at her job as a person can be. She has one last chance to land a job before she becomes absolutely destitute, but her job interview does not turn out quite the way she expects. I cannot really tell you anymore without giving away some of the charm and lure of the story. It’s a nice story about how a person, given the chance and encouragement, can transform themselves or perhaps, more accurately, let their true selves out.
The setting is wonderfully fun and the dialogue some of the most witty I have read. It reminds me a lot of old Cary Grant movies where the characters talk fast and react just as quickly. It’s a whirlwind of people, events, emotions, and even suspense (though not of the scary kind). I enjoyed it so much that I am sure I had a smile on my face for most of the time while I was reading it. Since I tend to favor “serious” books, this one was like a breath of fresh air on the brain.
The book is published by Persephone Books as one of their Classics. I’ve recently discovered this series of books that focuses on little known books written (mostly) by women in the 20th century. They have 98 books in their collection and I have two. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day was a great introduction to this group of books and I am looking forward to reading more–maybe even all 98!