After watching the 2008 movie I was completely enchanted by this story of a woman who, at the end of her rope, takes a chance and "lives" like she never had before. It reminds me a bit of Last Holiday in that regard, but replace....everything with swing music, alcoholic beverages, fancy clothes and ambiguous morals.
The book however, was a tad bit different.
First of all, let me set the stage by saying that class was a huge issue here as were some very strict behavioral expectations that even me and my goody-two-shoes self thought were stifling.
The book is actually broken up into chapters titled with time periods. Chapter one is 9:15 AM to 11:11 AM. I'm sure the 24 writers thought they were being quite clever when they came up with the one day concept but sorry guys, it was already done...in 1938.
So it's a hard economic times and Miss Pettigrew is looking for a job. She's a governess type but absolutely hates it because she can't handle children well but who gives up a job when a job is to be had? She is mistakenly sent to see Miss Delysia LaFosse thinking the woman needs someone to watch her child but instead finds the panicked Delysia needing an apartment cleaning to wipe out any trace of her #3 boyfriend from her #2 boyfriend's apartment.
Miss Pettigrew smokes, drinks, and swears in the process of "saving" Delysia throughout the day - things she'd never done in her life - but Delysia is so sweet and grateful and needful of guidance Miss Pettigrew can't leave her in the lurch. It's like the "friends help you move, real friends help you move dead bodies" - what would you do for a friend?
So the book goes throughout the day. Miss Pettigrew continues to behave in ways she didn't think herself capable but instead of getting caught up in the social politics of who is important and who should I be with to get myself to the top?, she grounds each of the characters and guides them towards what would bring them true happiness.
I almost never say that I like something about a movie better but I actually think that characteristic of truth and honesty was handled even better in the movie. Although in both one of my favorites is where she guides Delysia's boyfried #1 (Michael) to "sock him one" - meaning boyfriend #2. Tee hee.
The glorious part is that Miss Pettigrew discovers that class doesn't matter to the people she befriends (although it might to some of the others) and she makes a true friend in Delysia and manages to find love when she never thought she would.
"Now she, herself, had a destination. What a difference that made! All the difference in the world. Now she lived. She was inside of things. Now she took part. She breathed Ambrosial vapour."
It's the second chance that makes this story so charming.
So despite the moral ambiguity and detestable behavior by some, I did enjoy and recommend both the book and movie. And if you'd like to know a little more about the movie take a look at Polka Dot's post - she and I have remarkably similar opinions and she posted several pretty photos to entice you. :)
Also, you've got to listen to the soundtrack. I listen to it frequently while writing my blog posts.