30 October 2010

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - Winifred Watson

Summary: Miss Pettigrew is a down-on-her luck, middle-aged governess sent by her employment agency to work for a nightclub singer rather than a household of unruly children. Over the period of 24 hours, her
life is changed forever 

Comments: I must admit I saw this movie before I read the book - which is not at all what I typically do. The movie was lovely especially with Ciaran Hinds (he can't do anything wrong in my book), but Frances McDormand stole the show - she was funny and charming and practical all at the same time - which is exactly what Miss Pettigrew is in the book. Smart, maybe not worldy, but full of common sense and quick on her feet. She's the kind of friend you would want in a tight spot. And nightclub singer Delysia Lafosse (don't you just love that name) is apparently always in some fix or another as she is juggling several men at one time - including the one that is just right for her. In addition to helping Delysia out of whatever jam she's in at present, Miss Guinivere Pettigrew does her best to assist Delysia's friends and in the process meets Edythe DuBarry and her older boyfriend Joe Bloomfield. For a book that takes place during the period of only one day, so much happens and so much of it is just pure fun, this is a easy and great read. I'm surprised it took so long before it was made into a movie. But read the book first - that's always the best way to do it.

28 October 2010

Everything Austen II - Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

Summary: Seventeen year--old daughter of a clergyman, Catherine Morland, leaves her small community with friends Mr. and Mrs. Allen for her first trip to Bath. While there Catherine is introduced to the charming Henry Tilney and becomes friends with his sister Eleanor. She also meets the daughter and son of an old friend of Mrs. Allen, Isabella and John Thorpe. General Tilney invites Catherine to spend time with his daughter Eleanor at their home in Northanger Abbey.

Comments (some spoilers): I came to Northanger Abbey rather late... ie. There was nothing left of Miss Austen's to read but this, so I read it. The first time, I wasn't sure what I thought - it seemed a bit silly, but the second time I started to see that Catherine was an experiment. Described early on as basically a tom boy, she was not set out to do great things, but as she grew older, she became a sweet girl who wanted to look for something new. She was so young and so naieve, but she was slowly learning, sometimes the hard way, what the world was about. She's also been very influenced by her recent reading of Gothic
novels. She has an internal strength that won't let Isabella or John Thorpe or even her beloved brother make her do the improper thing. She has a devotion to Henry Tilney that of course makes it easy for him to love her and a love of Eleanor Tilney as the type of true friend worth having. Were she a bit older, she might be more like Elizabeth Bennet. If that were the case, she would have seen through Isabella very early on, but Catherine has seen so little of the world, that it just wasn't possible. Just like her inability to understand why Captain Tilney acts in the way that he does when it seems so very clear to her that he is in the wrong. But she also has the ability to manage to get home from Northanger Abbey alone when the time abruptly comes. 

I just love the description of Mrs. Allen. "Mrs. Allen was one of that numerous class of females, whose society can raise no other emotion than surprise at there being any men in the world who could like them well enough to marry them." Her fascination with dress and have aquanticenes in Bath, was amusing.
Henry Tilney is the most charming of Austen's heros. From the very beginning he is witty, fun, smart -- and utter charmer. I can see why so many Janeites are on Team Tilney. No brooding Mr. Darcy, no resentful Captain Wentworth here, just a lovely intelligent guy with a fun sense of humor who can't help but fall in love with Catherine since it's so obvious that she is in love with him.
One of my favorite lines after a conversation between Catherine and Miss Tilney: "This civility was duly returned; and they parted -- on Miss Tilney's side with some knowledge of her new acquaintance's feelings, and on Catherine's, without the smallest consciousness of having explained them."
I've made my feeling clear on Isabella and John Thorpe before, so I won't belabor the point
All in all, I've come to enjoy Northanger Abbey and Catherine and Tilney make a lovely couple.

27 October 2010

Talk Like Jane Austen Day - October 30th

Talk Like Jane Austen Day - October 30th
What a great idea - Talk like Jane Austen for a day - This will certainly be difficult, but I shall do my best. I do not often shrink from a challenge and besides this should confuse the Boy to the point of driving him to distraction. How the lovely puppies will take this is entirely unknown. The MotH will be his usual heroic self and tolerate my strange take on the English language.