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The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

New or Used: 3 copies from $19.95
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Verdict: What began as a promising novel quickly devolves into an underdeveloped romp through Pippa's self-indulgent reminiscences. Not recommended, though note that Miller is the daughter of famed playwright Arthur Miller and married to actor Daniel Day-Lewis, so there may be interest. Background: Miller, who earned accolades for her film adaptation of her short story collection, Personal Velocity, introduces readers to fifty-something Pippa Lee, who has just moved into a retirement community with her 80-year-old husband, Herb. Her transition is far from smooth, as Pippa manifests her stress in strange nighttime rituals and a return to smoking. Throw in a few tense relationships among various friends and neighbors, and Miller has the start of an engaging story about a woman who identifies herself as a "used car" that has been in an accident--she "looks perfectly fine on the outside, but the axel is bent." Rather than stay in real time, the novel then flashes back to Pippa's drug- and sex-filled youth to explain further this "used car" mentality. Back in the present day, an odd climax sends Pippa out on another phase or "life" to try on for size.--Dora Wagner, Northwestern Coll. Lib., Saint Paul, MN Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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