This is my sixth post about 2015’s books for The Classics Club. I’ll be reading one classic book a month through 2018. Track what I’m reading for the Classics Club here. I’ll try not to include too many spoilers in my review but I may need to discuss some in order to fully review the book. I’ll warn you if I’m going to mention one.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
- Year Published: 1938
- Reread? Or new to me?: new to me
- Number of Pages: 234
- Date Finished: October 20th, on the plane on the way to Alaska
- Number of Days it took me to read it: 3
- Page/Day ratio: 78:1
- Will I reread this?: I enjoyed it but probably not
Not on my original Classics Club list, I had seen this book recommended so many times that I decided to read it for my October pick. There was something so pathetically sad about Miss Pettigrew at first that I found myself almost continually cringing for her. As I read though, I found myself rooting for her to succeed in a way that surprised me. The book had a very satisfying, feel-good ending, which was nice for my plane ride home to Alaska in October.
(There are some slight spoilers in this paragraph, but if you read the book, you’ll probably see this coming a long ways off.) I do object to the book’s [not-so-subtle-at-all] subtext that you need lots of makeup and fancy clothes, hair, and jewelry to be beautiful and desirable. As someone who made a fairly conscious decision to move away from wearing makeup about six years ago, I do get frustrated with the messages bombarding women (and especially young girls) that they are not enough in and of themselves. Clearly, part of Miss Pettigrew’s problem was that she hadn’t cared for her appearance at all but the solution was not just a flattering hair cut and well-cut clothing. The solution to making her beautiful and desirable was expensive clothes and expensive makeup, essentially making her look completely unlike her true self. Once she had those things, all of a sudden people paid attention to her. Sadly, this is still very true almost 80 years later. The challenge for me is to keep this poison away from my kids. But how?
How about you? Have you read this book (or seen the movie)? What issue struck you the most about Miss Pettigrew’s experience that day?
In January, I’m reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. So far, I’m finding it quite funny. Want to join me in reading it?