Pippa Lee is a fifty-year-old woman, married to Herb, editor and octogenarian. They have recently moved to a retirement community where she is the youngest resident, by years. Ever since her marriage, Pippa has been the ideal wife, the perfect mother. She has cooked lovingly for her husband, kept their house and raised their twins, a boy and a girl.

But for all her housewifely facade, Pippa appears to all around her as an enigma, a mystery. Underneath this Stepford wife is another woman, a woman with a peculiar childhood, spent between a minister father and a mother who loves her passionately, excessively, a woman who had to flee this smothering mother to live a wild youth, a youth made of strange sexual experiences and drugs. But all the excesses ended when Pippa married Herb.

As days pass quietly in the community, Pippa starts to act strangely, sleepwalking and letting bits of her past personality involuntarily sip between the cracks of the perfect facade. The son of a resident, Chris, a troubled man of thirty-five, becomes the recipient of Pippa’s problems…

The Privates Lives of Pippa Lee is a strange novel, which reminded me both of The Desperate Housewives and of The Blindfold, by Siri Hustvedt, a novel which I have read recently. Pippa is a complex female character, in some ways modern and in some old fashioned, a woman with no particular ambition and yet a yearning for freedom and fulfillment. The Private Lives if Pippa Lee is a good summer read, not as predictable as it can seem at the beginning…

Rating: 3,5/5