The Private Lives of P...
Rebecca Miller
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The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

3.18 of 5 stars 3.18  ·  rating details  ·  1,915 ratings  ·  265 reviews

What part of our selves do we hide away in order to have a stable, prosperous life?

Pippa Lee has just such a life in place at age fifty, when her older husband, a retired publisher, decides that they should move to a retirement community outside New York City. Pippa is suddenly deprived of the stimulation and distraction that had held everything in place. She begins losin

Perfect Paperback, 233 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Canongate Books Ltd. (first published September 30th 2002)
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Elevate Difference
What molding and stretching is required of a woman who chooses to better the quality of life of others over her own? Perhaps this type of self-sacrifice cannot be fathomed from the outside in. To be the devoted wife, the doting mother, the gracious hostess, the caring friend—where and when does she find the time to find herself?

Within in her sharply defined world, Pippa Lee is everything to everyone who matters to her—to Herb, her husband thirty years her senior and a prominent publisher; to her...more
Barks & Bites
When the book begins Pippa is in her fifties. She’s one of those well-to-do perfect housewife types that everyone simply adores. She’s been married to Herb, thirty years her senior, for thirty or so years and they are the parents of grown up twins. Life is idyllic with a beach house and everything. Herb is eighty(ish) when he realizes one day he’s getting old and wants to sell their real estate and move into a planned community for aging people so Pippa won’t have to care for him when his health...more
The character of Pippa Lee, in her many incarnations, is a wondrous specimen of a woman. It's far too easy to say "she overcame obstacles, blah, blah, blah..." It's much more than that when it comes to Pippa. She runs straight into the fire over and over, each time emerging more and more in touch with her own humanity. I fell in love with Pippa - her curiosity at a young age, her desperation during her young adulthood, and most of all her middle-aged incongruity. She knows how to laugh at hersel...more
Nov 05, 2007 Andrea rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women
This was a really good book. Very smart literature for women, IMHO.

Pippa Lee, 50, is married to Herb, three decades her senior. He suddenly announces that he wants to move to Marigold Village, a retirement community, and Pippa finds her life changing in ways she can't control.

We are taken into Pippa's life as a child and teenager, then into young adulthood.

Then we are brought back to the present and into an unexpected conclusion.
What can I say? After a hard term at university I picked this out for some light reading off my mother's bookshelf at home and I think it is middle aged chick lit.

It started well enough; the protagonist, Pippa Lee, is the kind of woman I suspect most women aspire to be. Kind, caring, effervescent, the friend other women trust with their secrets. However, as the book continues it becomes clear that she has worked hard to become this woman and it could have been oh so different. It transpires that...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
There were bits about this book that I enjoyed but in the main I found it a slow read that went nowhere. I enjoyed reading about Pippa's childhood and young adulthood in the 60's and how this lively unusual womand had bcome subsumed by her husbnd and family. There were bits of her relationship with her mother that were disturbing but it did give you some insight into how she had become the woman she was and the impact it had on her own parenting of her daughter.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was prepared to hate this book, based on other reviews I'd read, but I ended up rather enjoying it. It was pretentious, true, but I don't agree with what others have said that it would never have gotten published if the author hadn't been Arthur Miller's daughter. I've read a lot worse. *cough*NicholasSparks*cough*

The one jarring thing was the disjoint of the middle section, which switched to first person, and I could never really get back into the third person of the rest of the narrative in...more
Lisa (scarlet21)
To be honest I wasn't expecting much from this book; when it was first out I picked it up and put it down a few times but then I ended up with it somehow a few months ago and I decided to read it as it was thinnish. So, I am very pleased to say that I really enjoyed it! It's not such a deep book although it brings up important issues about the mother-daughter relationship but it is a fascinating study of a maturing woman who has, to all intents and purposes, been the perfect wife and mother who...more
I read this as it was a chosen book for an on line BC, would I have chosen it otherwise probably not. I don't know whether I liked or not but I was compelled to keep turning the pages so I suppose I must have done. Pippa's marriage to a much older man on the surface seems to give her comfortable lifestyle but as the book progresses through the various stages of her life, her past is revealed in all it's sordid glory. A past her children or current group of friends no nothing about, the relations...more
AJ LeBlanc
First two-thirds of the book: A+! Last part: are you kidding me with this?

Pippa is 30 years younger than her husband. She is completely in love and content and happy with their clearly defined relationship. It works for them and she is at times caught off guard with how content she is.

From the outset it is clear that something is going to change. Herb is 80 and has decided to sell everything so that he and 50 year old Pippa can move into a retirement community. He wants to make sure she'll be pr...more
Not at all what I was expecting when I added this book to my wish list as a Richard and Judy recommendation I was really expecting it to be a humorous novel about a couple moving to a retirement village and the young wife causing chaos as we learnt of her past lives.. How wrong could I have been, as I actually found it disturbing and somewhat depressing, though strangely still a reasonable read.
The protagonist is Pippa Lee and one of the quotes on the back...more
My library has a program called "Books To Go". It's kind of like how grocery stores position the candy bars right in the checkout line, but less fattening. Books that are being made into movies or that have gotten a certain amount of press recently are typically featured on a shelf right next to the library checkout.
I expected this book to be lightweight chick-lit, a guilty-pleasure read, but I was pleasantly surprised.
The novel starts when Pippa is 50 years old, and looks to all the world to...more
Surprised because I didn’t like his book at first thinking it a cliché of the snobbery of the modestly rich, liberal-minded, artistic, elitist New York-Hamptons crowd, but when I finished the book I was in love with Pippa Lee.

How did Pippa Lee get there? Did she belong? As her character emerges we see a waif out of control. She is acts out in depraved ways that are immoral yet noble and unselfish, and as her sub-conscience explodes, memories both shocking and troubling emerge.

Pippa feels settle...more
Laura Dickinson
This is quite a short book, but length isn't everything and I really enjoyed it. It's about Pippa, in her 50s, who moves to a retirement village with her husband who is in his 80s. She becomes bored and this leads her to recall her life before she met her husband - a much wilder and more troubled life.

It is written in a style which is similar to how your friend might tell a story - not overly 'literary' or hard to get into. It's interesting to learn about her previous life, her relationship with...more
Adrienne Urbanski
Miller returns to the familiar terrain she first explored with Personal Velocity, exploring one woman's life path and ambitions. As a lost and listless soul, Pippa Lee cannot find a career or purpose to devote herself too. She instead loses herself in futile sexual relationships until she attaches herself to Herb, a married publisher thirty years her season. Once Pippa weds Herb she loses herself in the marriage, when Herb grows elderly she is forced to reside in a retirement community where she...more
After moving into a retirement community at least thirty years prematurely for the sake of the husband thirty years her senior, quintessential housewife Pippa Lee begins to meander very calmly and quickly toward a very quiet nervous breakdown. In between episodes of sleep-walking, sleep-driving, sleep-eating, sleep-smoking, and developing odd emotional ties to her neighbor's thirty-something wayward son (while very much awoke), Pippa narrates the road map of her troubled past that involves every...more
This has "Oprah Book Club" written all over it. I say that in a positive way. I couldn't put this book down. I kept waiting to find out what made Pippa...Pippa. I loved Pippa's voice and the way she could describe her "troubled" past without judgment. She neither bragged about her promiscuous life nor made excuses. I liked that. She was real. The ending threw me- I can't decide if it was a speedy/convenient wrap up or if that was Pippa coming full circle- back to where she started but with matur...more
When I finish a good book - one that takes me out of my life, away from the droning of a plane's engine, a cold doctor's office, a mediocre day, and into a story - I go through a little mourning period. Now I have to find another book, and will it be as good?

That's how I felt after finishing Rebecca Miller's "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee," (2008, Canongate Books, 231 pp.).

Read more of my review on my blog at:

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 th...more
Maria Stevenson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Though it has many good lines and is readable in a breezy sort-of way, this book is highly annoying. The main character is improbably pretty and perfect, and attempts to assure the reader that she is these things but in a totally unpretentious, unselfconscious way actually make the character less, not more, likable. Also, the plot unfolds in an obvious way; even the dive into the main character's troubled childhood seems predictable, despite efforts to sex it up with family trauma, sex and drugs...more
Such melodrama. At 230 or so pages, this felt interminable. Totally sensible-seeming middle-aged wife to her elderly husband moves into retirement community, until the narrative suddenly shifts to a first-person telling of her young self's exploits in the big city - all of which are clearly meant to shock you. It shifts back into third-person at the end of the book, for more melodrama followed by Pippa's newfound but unearned contentment(?) with her reclaimed independence. Boring.
Georgiana Trandafir
Accesibile reading, fast paced narrative with sequential, movie_like scenes, easily adaptable for the screen.
Pippa lives each stage of her life dedicated to or moulded by other people: her mother, her friends, Herb, her children and ends up at age 50 never having lived for herself. She moves onto the next stage of her life apparently freed and reconciled with the past but possibly following the same patterns.
The character is multifaceted on the surface but quite plain in depth. The cyclical natu...more
This book has changed my life
Debbie Robson
This book was lent to me by a friend and the loan was very timely as I am dealing with the subject of mental illness in my new novel. I was immediately struck by the narrative decisions the author made in the four separate parts. Miller has chosen to depict the present moment of the first part in the 3rd person which of course gives her room to move between characters if she needs to. The second and longest part of the book (the flashback) is told in the first person which I found strange as thi...more
"The Private Lives of Pippa Lee was a slow-starter for me - it took me a couple of weeks to make it through part 1, not because the writing is especially dense or difficult, but because the first fifty-ish pages barely captured my interest. However, other reviews suggested that the novel was worth persevering with, and I am very glad indeed that I did.

The novel opens with Pippa moving into a retirement community with her much-older husband, Herb. Decades younger than all the other residents, Pi...more
Really not a fan. In fact this book was pretty bad and pointless. I'm starting to think if she wan't Arthur Miller's daughter and Daniel Day Lewis' husband would this really be published? The characters never manage to go anywhere, the story is not fully fleshed out and it becomes boring at times. In fact the story is pretty nonexistant. The writing is also a little funky but not the good funky, more of the confusing kind. The book switches a lot from first person to third person not very smooth...more
Les vies privées de Pippa Lee, Rebecca Miller

C'est le récit d'une quinquagénaire qui s'installe dans une résidence pour séniors avec Herb, son mari de 80 ans, éditeur de son métier. Elle découvre un monde aseptisé dans lequel elle cherche sa place. Et la voilà qui repense à son passé tourmenté, bien loin de l'image de femme idéale qu'elle renvoie, et qui se demande s'il n'est pas trop tard pour se libérer à nouveau.

Le style est maladroit, certainement du à la traduction. Les allers-retours dans...more
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Rebecca Miller is an American film director, screenwriter and actress, most known for her films Personal Velocity: Three Portraits, The Ballad of Jack and Rose and Angela, all of which she wrote and directed.

Daughter of playwright Arthur Miller and photographer Inge Morath.

Miller married the actor Daniel Day-Lewis in 1996.

More about Rebecca Miller...
Jacob's Folly Personal Velocity The Ballad of Jack and Rose School Library Journal Clearly Outstanding - a practical guide to creating outstanding practice in Early Years Settings

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“She's a mystery, a cipher, something nearly extinct these days: a person not controlled by ambition or greed or a crass need for attention, but by a desire to experience life completely and to make life a little easier for the people around her” 9 likes
“Courtship is romantic. Marriage ... is an act of will," said Pippa, taking a sip of water. "I mean, I adore Herb. But the marriage functions because we will it to. If you leave love to hold everything together, you can forget it.” 5 likes
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