The Private Lives of Pippa Lee – Rebecca Miller
Even though I decided to review this, I still don’t really know what I want to say about it. It’s a bit different from anything else I’ve read this year, at first glance I thought it was an easy read romance but it’s really not!
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads because I’m far too lazy to read it off the back of the book: 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.
This is the début novel of Rebecca Miller, who I’m told is the daughter of Arthur but I’m gonna wiki that just to make sure at some point. I think this may have been made into a film too but I’m still trying to track that down. I’m interested to see how it plays out on screen.
I think the main reason why I want to review this is because it was what I was reading when I started my new job.
If you follow me on tumblr and or twitter you’ll know that that is an entirely appropriate gif.
At this new job I get an hour for lunch out of the office, but we all have to go at different times so I’m often on my own and I’m far too poor to go anywhere too exciting so I took this with me during my first week to while away the hour, so this will forever remind me of that time. Much like how Slaughter House 5 reminds me of being attacked by a giant spider because that genuinely happened.but that’s a terrifying story for another time.
Anyway, this is told in four parts, the first being Pippa’s life as it is, the second being her life up to the present, the third is back to the present and then the fourth is a mere few pages on what Pippa did next. I really enjoyed this, it was easy to pick up and leave off as and when and it had nice bite sized chapters which made it pretty perfect for lunch time readings. Although, there a confusing change of 3rd to 1st person narrative in part two which I’m not sure is entirely necessary. It’s also a little pretentious. I mean, rich, white woman moves to a retirement home and has a midlife crisis. Despite that, Pippa was an intriguing character, her background was fascinating and her interaction with Grace and Ben was interesting considering her relationship with Sukey in part two. I also thought that Herb was very enigmatic and would have loved to have heard the book from his perspective.
I saw a lot of people (mostly on goodreads) talking about how this was very decadent and a bit saucy. I’ll be honest, there wasn’t a single thing that shocked me when reading this. I thought it was rather tame, I mean, there is a bit of drug taking but when isn’t there in pop culture these days? And I really don’t find lesbianism or consensual promiscuity that shocking. Maybe I’m just a deviant.
I was really glad I thought to hire this actually, it’s really different from my usual selections and I think if anyone wants to try something that’s a little different but not totally radical they should probably track this down.
Wow. That was long considering I had no idea what to say.