This charming, funny, light-hearted 1938 novel was a bestseller on its first appearance. Read by Academy Award winning actress Frances McDormand, who stars in the 2008 film as Miss Pettigrew.
Winifred Watson grew up in Newcastle and was a secretary until, in 1935, she married Leslie Pickering, the manager of a timber firm. She wrote six novels in all and died in 2002.
©2000 The Estate of Winifred Watson; (P)2008 Persephone Books
"Miss Pettigree is irresistible, a perfect mix of wistfulness and joy, substance and froth." (Tracy Chevalier)
"Pure Cinderella fantasy farce with beaus, bounders, negligees and nightclubs - Miss Pettigrew's blossoming is a delight to observe." (The Guardian)
What a delightful surprise this book has been: a shy, timid governess experiences one amazing day that is nothing like her boring, monotonous life, and she experiences what life can be, if you just dare to live it. It's an absolute gem! Can't wait to see the movie!
I loved this book, the narrator was fun to listen to; the characters were all very distinct! What a great Cinderella story!!!
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
This 1938 novel, here narrated by the excellent Frances McDormand, tells a charming little story about a hard on her luck spinster who discovers life can be full of surprise when, applying for a job as a governess, she knocks at the wrong door. Instead of the disagreeable housewife she usually must contend with in her line of work, at which she isn't exactly competent, she meets with a beautiful vision of a girl, just as glamorous and delightful as the ones Guinevere Pettigrew has only seen at the movies, her one greatest guilty pleasure until then. In less than twenty-four hours filled with thrilling events the likes of which Guinevere has never experienced firsthand before, this straight-laced vicar’s daughter discovers things about herself she never knew she had in her.
In the wrong hands, this quaint little story might have been a sickeningly-sweet kind of affair, which is absolutely not the case here. I had stumbled on the movie adaptation on television one day, which is when I experienced my first brief love affair with Miss Pettigrew, again portrayed by the remarkably talented Frances McDormand. The novel has even greater delights to offer, if only because one gets to spend more time with this unlikely heroine, who serendipitously sees her life transformed like a 1930s middle-aged Cinderella.
There are many positive reviews of this title, so I will try to explain why I didn't much like it. I wasn't bothered by the plot which is pretty much a standard wallflower to belle of the ball transformation, condensed into a day. It isn't brilliantly done but if you like light romance then it's fine. A bit quirky. I was taken aback by some comments about nationalities/races other than the English, and I'm not sure if I imagined it, or misunderstood (Italians? Jews?). But my main problem was with the narration.
Most reviewers seem to love the narrator, whereas for me she pretty much ruined it. To my ears Frances McDormand delivered a very intermittent approximation of an English accent, sometimes almost right, but frequently dropping back into what sounded to me like a version of an American accent. It got so that I couldn't help listening for the vagaries of her accent instead of listening to the story. I didn't find that she differentiated the characters at all well, either by accent or register, so I doubt a listener would ever be able to tell which of them were speaking unless there was a "said ... " in the text. So fine actress though she is, McDomand pretty much killed this audio book for me.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day is a book that defies description. It is fun and thoughtful and full of insite. Quick moving, with never a dull moment. We follow Miss Pettigrew for one day of her life, but that day changes her life forever. If you have seen the movie, there are differences, but the core of the story is the same. And Frances McDormand, who played Miss Pettigrew in the movie, does a wonderful job of reading the story. Persephone Books, who reissued this long out of print story, also arranged for the recording of the audiobook, and I am so very glad that they did.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I have not seen the movie, but the trailers looked interesting, so I was enticed to download the book. I was completely charmed, and can't think how the movie could measure up, if only because I can't imagine how a movie could adequately convey the thoughts going through Miss Pettigrew's head that gave color and depth to her character and helped to carry the story along. Along with Miss P I looked forward to each new happening throughout her special day, watching her bloom into the person she was always meant to be. I was rooting for her all the way, delighting in her transformation. This is exactly what I enjoy most about audible books - an engaging story that makes me care about the characters, well read to bring those characters to life. I hated for it to end.
While at first I had some trouble relating to such a timid creature as Miss Pettigrew is at the outset - the reading was so perfect and on the spot that I warmed up to her. As the story develops Miss Pettigrew develops and despite the outrageous improbability of it all, in such a natural and charming manner, it truly captured me.
I loved listening to this one. The narrator is lively and easy to listen to. The story is charming. It gives a little insight into the restricted lives women led "back in those days".
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