Paul Gallico's first Mrs. 'Arris book, Mrs. 'Arris Goes To Paris (1958), is one of my all-time favorites. It is a gentle story of an English char-woman (cleaning lady in the U.S.) who becomes entranced by the beauty of her employers Dior couture dress. Although she has no use for, nor money to purchase such a dress, owning a Dior gown becomes her dream. To hard-working, sensible Mrs. 'Arris, a Dior gown is the embodiment of beauty, sophistication and artistry - things lacking from her mundane life. She doesn't dream of attending balls or mixing in society - merely of possessing an item of such elegance. The tale of Mrs. 'Arris's journey to purchase her Dior gown is warmth, charm and delight.
Unfortunately, Mrs. 'Arris's second outing - to New York (1960) - is a slapstick farce. Her outing to Paris must have emboldened the char-woman to believe any hair-brained scheme is not only possible, but advisable. Her totally clueless plan to kidnap a young boy to return him to his ex-GI father somewhere in America turns into an I Love Lucy episode. It was painful and I admit to skimming the last third. So disappointing! Mrs. 'Arris has two more adventures - to Parliament (1965) and to Moscow (1974) - but I believe I'll pass. I don't want anything else to taint my memory of Mrs. 'Arris.
I highly recommend the movie adaptation of Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris, starring Angela Lansbury. It is the rare movie that holds true to the original story. Delightful!
On a side note: While searching the library shelf for Mrs. 'Arris, I discovered that the same author wrote The Poseidon Adventure. Well, color me flabbergasted! Talk about a diverse author!
My attempt to read Mrs. 'Arris Goes to New York was part of the Library Book Readathon, hosted by Rachael at Rachael Turns Pages. My goal for the week was to complete two library books. I was unsuccessful. I finished (mostly) Mrs. 'Arris and started Ardor by Lily Prior, but progress was limited. Thanks, Rachael, for hosting.