Miss Pettigrew lives in modern day hollywood. ★★★
So I totally suck at getting these reviews out each week, and there is now a little backlog (check the Project 2011: Reading page to track which books I have read so far) but never the less, I am really enjoying actually setting aside time to sit and read a good old fashioned book.
Week one's nominated book was Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, by Winifred Watson. Now, I have to admit, I didn't know who Watson was when I picked up this book a couple of years ago. I still don't know much, I do know, thanks to Wikipedia and a couple of my old university text books, that she was from Newcastle, and that this book was a success on publication and was due to be made into a film before World War II. It finally managed to be made into a film with Amy Adams and Frances McDormand a few years ago, a film I doubt I will see.
Now, don't get me wrong, It isn't a poor story that would make me not want to see this film, in fact I like the story and its quite happy ending, I believe that the story allows this book to be an easy read which can be picked up and put down whenever you want. It is in fact that I believe that when this book was written in the nineteen thirties it was a sort of Heat magazine of the times which puts me off a bit.
The story is basically an episode of that show "Fearne and..." that featured Fearne Cotton spending a day in the life of various 'celebrities' such as Paris Hilton and one of the Geldof girls. It is a very idealistic view of society between the wars, a 'how the other world lives' story which I imagine at the time would have nicely provided the housewives of Newcastle their insight into the lives of the famous while allowing them to still be able to associate with a character similar to themselves.
The book is, as I say, the exact sort of book that you can easily pick up and put down. This is partly due to its structure, with the day being broken up into slots of time which stand as a chapter, but also because it isn't gripping, it isn't even really very fluffy in the way that I think chick-lit is fluffy. It simply is. If you fancy a quick idealised view of old style glamour featuring a ditzy starlet and an old maid who is learning to let her hair down a little then it is a great book for a Sunday lazing around, but do not expect anything too great.
Despite all that negativity, I have given this three stars, purely because it is a little bit of escapism and everyone needs some of that every so often.