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The Private Lives of Pippa Lee: A Novel by…

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee: A Novel (edition 2009)

by Rebecca Miller

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4533323,009 (3.18)42
Title:The Private Lives of Pippa Lee: A Novel
Authors:Rebecca Miller
Info:Picador (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller



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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
I hadn't heard of Rebecca Miller. Bogged down in all the pessicitudes of life (yeah, new word I just coined now in utter pessimism), I had stopped reading books. Not completely but well, it seemed no book captured my attention long enough and intensely enough. I wouldn't still say that the Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller captivated me. But it did one good thing - it made me read the book straight in two days, and I didn't find my mind wandering around in 4000 different corners of the earth while I was doing so.

Surprise, after I finished, I found that Private Lives has been turned into a movie. I am not sure I would be seeing the movie, but Private Lives interested me simply because Pippa was such a believable character. She seemed to resonate my own mind, and her journey from being a drug-infused rebel in her youth to compliant housewife for Herb Lee, mega publisher, and socializer, and then her slow unraveling of herself was fascinating. The novel moves through two parts - Pippa's youth told in the first person, and then Pippa at 50 - locked in a marriage to a person 30 years her senior, two kids, Ben, who seems too perfect to be true, and Grace, in who Pippa sees most of herself - a photographer on assignment in Afganistan. There was a small section of the book that explored Grace's character - her struggles with Pippa, and her consultations with a psychotherapist but it was too short, too brief, and almost as if the writer forgot she had to develop Grace more.

Private Lives is no classic but it is a light read, enjoyable, and for those who can identify with Pippa, it offers a little more insight.

My favorite quote from Private Lives : "Marriage is an act of will" says Pippa while talking to her best friend. I later found that it is just an echo of Pope John Paul II's own quote. ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
I should add the edition I read, a Thorndike Large Print, with a cover image that makes it look more like a genre Romance.  It is a messy soap opera, with plenty of cliches and a convenient ending.  And a pretty high yuck factor, with underage sex, drugs, cruelty, s&m....  I'm not glad I read it and don't recommend it.  I wonder how it got on my list... I'll have to check GR and see if someone I know read it, and know to be more careful of their rec's in the future.... ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
My first comment upon finishing this one is I find the choice of title a bit…. Odd. If by “private lives” the author means the growing inner turmoil Pippa experiences, then I still struggle with the “private lives” bit. Maybe it is in reference to the fact that Pippa’s life with Herb, her husband, is a polished veneer and very different from her intense and psychologically damaging childhood years where her Dexedrine-addicted mother’s manic behaviour is a catalyst for Pippa’s own wild and unhinged youth. Either way, the title is a strange one, but maybe fitting for what is a rather odd story. The story dissects Pippa’s life into sections in a manner that one reviewer refers to as being “like opening a series of Russian Dolls, each intricately wrought, self-contained and self-revealing”. Sadly, I have to agree with the reviewer when they go on to say that each section is just as empty as the last. There is a lot of show, but not a whole lot of substance in this one. The supporting characters seem to come across as slightly exaggerated personalities but even then, there is still an overall flatness of tone to the story. Miller may have done this on purpose to enhance the rather dreamy, sedate aspect of Pippa’s personality (making me think of a Stepford Wife on suppressants), and if so, I am not sure that it works in the way Miller intended. Even when there are what are probably supposed to be shocking scenes - thinking of when the younger Pippa is a participant in an amateur S&M movie - the whole reading experience is a bit surreal.

Overall, a different kind of story of self-examination and discovery but one that didn’t really work for me. Maybe it works better as a movie... I don't know. The fact that it was immediately made into a movie shortly after being published tells me that someone somewhere thought it had potential. ( )
  lkernagh | May 5, 2016 |
Well as you can see this book was one of my charity shop finds. Not really sure why I picked it up as the cover did not really draw me in. However I did find it an enjoyable read. I did wonder at the beginning how Pippa had ended up with Herb in the village but then as I read more I realised that subconsciously Pippa was looking for boring and safe after the chaos and adventure of her earlier youth. I also knew that Pippa would make the choice she did at the end of the book. ( )
  WWDG | May 6, 2015 |
What can I say about this book. I had high expectations as I had heard good things about this one. Took it on a long train journey and finished it in a day. The books starts really well, the characters, the different setting and makes you wonder what kind of a past does Pippa really have! I devoured the book, but halfway suddenly it stopped making sense.
Pippa seemed to have led a relatively tame life compared to what I was expecting. The behaviors, the characters, the story, nothing made sense. I quickly flicked through a few pages, hoping it was just that bit. And then it all went down hill!
Because it was a long journey, I actually continued and read the entire book. But i would suggest, once it starts not making sense, just read the last ten pages and you haven't missed anything.
Not a buy, borrow it! ( )
  Ami_Ruparelia | Jun 13, 2014 |
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Rebecca Millerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Pippa had to admit, she liked the house.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374237425, Hardcover)

At fifty, Pippa Lee seems just fine. The devoted wife of a brilliant publisher thirty years her senior, the proud mother of successful twins, and a lovely and adored friend and neighbor, she seems to glow with feminine serenity. But when her husband spontaneously decides they should cast off Gramercy Park for Marigold Village retirement home as a “preemptive strike against his decrepitude,” Pippa finds her beatific persona unraveling in alarming ways: the truth is that the gracious woman of the present day has seen more than her fair share of the wild side. By seventeen, Pippa had lived with a Dexedrine-addicted mother, felt the first stirrings of sexuality with a school girlfriend, had an affair with a teacher, and run away from home, set adrift on a course littered with broken hearts—until she seemingly found love and security in a family of her own. And now that established world, too, is in danger.
In Pippa Lee we have an unforgettable heroine, and a quirky and acutely intelligent portrait of the many lives behind a single name. Even after we’ve read it, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee is a story that is still unfurling.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:36 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

At 50, Pippa Lee seems just fine. The devoted wife of a man 30 years her senior, the mother of succesful twins, & an adored friend & neighbour, she seems to glow with feminine serentiy. But when her husband decides they should move into a retirement home, Pippa finds her persona unravelling in alarming ways.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Canongate Books

2 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 1847672450, 1847672493

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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