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Review: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

On my own, I would never, ever have picked up Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.  However, it was this month’s selection in Jessica’s online book club, Booking It, so after some internal struggles I did order it from the library.

You see, it’s not my style.  A frumpy, has-been governess, looking desperately for a new position, opens a potential employer’s door and steps into a world of glamor, loose morals, and substance abuse.  But Miss Pettigrew was written in 1938 and somehow Winifred Watson keeps it all as light and innocent-seeming (behind doors) as a fairy tale.

It’s fun watching mousy Miss Pettigrew take charge of her new friend’s life.  It’s fun watching her transformation from drab to sparkling, in both personality and looks.   

It’s also deeply moving to see how simple acceptance and love transform one woman and give her hope.

And it’s chilling to see how an author can take a simple story line and fill it with lies that almost seem believable.  Religion, morals, and godly people are boring and deadening; sinners are loving, accepting, and appealing.  Come, all ye who suffer!  Enter the glamorous world of sin and you will be saved.  Etc.  Kind of like Hollywood.  (Yes, I’m emotionally involved.   I’ve seen people embrace these lies and destroy their lives, and it’s heartbreaking.)

Am I glad I read Miss Pettigrew?  Absolutely.  It forced me to think about how an author can set up an unrealistic ‘either/or’ to portray a false view of the world.  And it pointed out how transforming love, hope, and acceptance can be.  Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is not a book I can easily recommend, but I learned a lot from it.

And, please, if there is a Miss Pettigrew in your life, do share some wholesome joy with her and watch her blossom.

This is yet one more book (I have to figure out which number) in the  52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge, and is  linked to both Booking It and Saturday Reviews.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library.


  1. Laraba says:

    Thanks for the post; I think you are pointing out the critical importance of worldview and that we need to THINK about the worldview portrayed in a book (or a movie or a TV show…whatever we let into our minds!) My husband just sent me an article recently about how people often are changed by what they read. That makes tremendous sense to me. If we read or watch shows that glorify false romance or immorality, we will be affected! I remember watching James Bond movies as a teen and just enjoying them; now that I am much more careful about what I watch and read, I’m horrified at the message that sexual immorality is fun and safe, which is very much a James Bond theme! It helps to at least be aware of potential issues but I think we also need to be cautious about what we let in our minds. Having said that, reading that book was obvioulsy useful to you and it is good you read it. We just need to keep our minds turned on when we read.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Yes, it’s so important to be careful what we let into our minds!

      This is especially so when our guard is down due to the emotions of fiction or movies. I recently read a book about psychology that pointed out how we absorb some memories without really realizing it, yet they can influence us greatly. This happens especially when we are emotionally involved.


  2. hopeinbrazil says:

    Wow, a post that deals with reading and world views! Just stumbled on your site from a Semicolon link. Glad to find your blog.

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