Wow. What a book. I certainly wasn't expecting Rebecca Miller's The Private Lives of Pippa Lee to be a page turner, but it was. Joseph O'Connor, whose Star of the Sea was one my favorite reads last year, says it's a page-turner on the front cover - who knew that you could sometimes trust these testimonials?
We first meet Pippa when she's in her 50s, living in a retirement community with her much-older husband. She basically starts wondering how she ended up where she was and we start getting glimpses from her past. She is certainly not the woman you'd think she is - she not 'just' a wife, mother, neighbour etc. She had a colorful, wild life and she misses it. Her past is told in the first person, while her present is told in the third person. That sure says a lot.
The book says so much about identity. About living your life how you want to live it, about being true to yourself, but also about how important security turns out to be. I guess that most of us struggle with these questions sometimes, we think about trade-offs in life. So most of us will find a piece of ourselves in Pippa Lee.
The author's style is brilliant - the simple and effective writing kind of reminded me of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis. Although this isn't a graphic novel, the writing is so vivid that I could see everything anyway.
One not to be missed.
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