The Rules Do Not Apply
When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules--about work, about love, and about womanhood. "I wanted what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can't have it all."In this memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being "a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses." Her own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed--and of what is eternal.

The Rules Do Not Apply Details

TitleThe Rules Do Not Apply
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 14th, 2017
PublisherRandom House
ISBN0812996933
ISBN-139780812996937
Number of pages224 pages
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Feminism

The Rules Do Not Apply Review

  • Esil
    March 27, 2017
    I didn’t know anything about Ariel Levy – who is a writer with The New Yorker -- but the description of her memoir sounded interesting. Well, it turns out that I would probably be happy to read anything by Levy and I need to look for some of her other writings. Her memoir deals with terrible personal losses she suffered a few years ago. She talks about her childhood, her early years as a writer and her history of relationships. This background is presented as a build up to the events that turned I didn’t know anything about Ariel Levy – who is a writer with The New Yorker -- but the description of her memoir sounded interesting. Well, it turns out that I would probably be happy to read anything by Levy and I need to look for some of her other writings. Her memoir deals with terrible personal losses she suffered a few years ago. She talks about her childhood, her early years as a writer and her history of relationships. This background is presented as a build up to the events that turned her world upside down. There is nothing unusual about a memoir focused on loss and grief. But what I liked about Levy’s writing is her unvarnished candidness. She grew up with an uncanny self-confidence that has clearly served her well as a journalist and in the ways she has navigated the world since childhood. While her confidence no doubt came from her upbringing and social position, she nevertheless has an unusual innate sense of who she is and what she wants. A few years ago, life knocked her down, taught her that no one is immune to loss – it turns out some of life’s inevitabilities do apply to everyone. She appears to be using her memoir as an opportunity to re-evaluate what she thought she knew about herself and the world. Still, at the end of the day, her writing is bold and what shines through and what I really liked about this book remain her strong voice and confidence. I’m not sure I would recommend this so much because of the story Levy has to tell, but more because of how she tells her story. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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  • Joy Clark
    December 24, 2016
    It's billed as a memoir, but The Rules Do Not Apply feels more like an exploration of grief, an attempt to make sense of tragedy and loss. And it reads beautifully. Levy doesn't pull any punches - she hits you right in the gut, baring her wounds in such raw fashion that the reader feels the knife. You know what you are in for from the very beginning - the first sentence rings with loss. Part of me wanted to stop immediately. Warning, the rest of this review is mildly spoilery.As a parent, my g It's billed as a memoir, but The Rules Do Not Apply feels more like an exploration of grief, an attempt to make sense of tragedy and loss. And it reads beautifully. Levy doesn't pull any punches - she hits you right in the gut, baring her wounds in such raw fashion that the reader feels the knife. You know what you are in for from the very beginning - the first sentence rings with loss. Part of me wanted to stop immediately. Warning, the rest of this review is mildly spoilery.As a parent, my greatest fear is losing a child. As one of the 33% of women who have suffered miscarriages, I wasn't ready to relive that grief. I'm glad I plodded through, though, because it reminded me that while no one can truly share in the grief of a mourning mother, we truly aren't alone. Miscarriage and infant loss has always been a taboo subject, perhaps because humans want to avoid a topic that brings about feelings of profound despair. I personally find that talking about it and finding that others have been there is cathartic. Everyone grieves differently, but I'm glad that Levy chose to share hers in such a soul-bearing, beautiful way. Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the advanced reader's copy.
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  • Bonnie Brody
    February 2, 2017
    Ariel Levy is a woman who grew up knowing she could have everything. She believed in the kindness of Mother Nature, the voice of reason (if it came from her), the importance of her own worth, and the ability to make her own rules. She traversed the world seeking adventure and writing about her experiences. Sometimes, her travels took her just subway stops away, but worlds apart from her day to day life - like the time she wrote an article for New York Magazine about a nightclub for obese women i Ariel Levy is a woman who grew up knowing she could have everything. She believed in the kindness of Mother Nature, the voice of reason (if it came from her), the importance of her own worth, and the ability to make her own rules. She traversed the world seeking adventure and writing about her experiences. Sometimes, her travels took her just subway stops away, but worlds apart from her day to day life - like the time she wrote an article for New York Magazine about a nightclub for obese women in Queens, New York.Ms. Levy "lived in a world where we had control over so much". She was a character from Marlo Thomas's world - Free to Be You and Me. And what Ms. Levy wanted was to be a respected writer, a woman not dependent on a man, and, preferably wealthy. She liked to go out and drink, and then drink some more. She put her biological clock on hold knowing that the wonders of modern fertility would be waiting for her when she was ready.It is just when the author becomes comfortable in her marriage, her life, and her accomplishments that she realizes that life can kick you in the ass and "you control nothing". Everything you have can be lost in a nano-second and Mother Nature is a bitch. This is quite an evolution for Ms. Levy and she finds herself on the road she never saw herself taking.Ms. Levy shares her personal life with the reader and examines issues as diverse as marriage, infidelity, alcoholism, pregnancy, loss, adventure, hermaphroditism in South Africa, and what I term gender fluidity. She does not try to portray herself as better than she is (or maybe she doesn't realize the initial picture of herself as a spoiled and narcissistic young woman that she paints). What struck me as the most important aspect of this memoir is the way the author evolved. Once she had it all and "now I was a wounded witch, wailing in the forest, undone".I didn't like the fact that the author was knocked down. What I rooted for was that she'd pick herself up and keep going. I just knew she would. She is cantankerous, tenacious, and undiminished, even in her grief. I subscribe to The New Yorker where the author works as a staff writer. I look forward to reading more of her articles.
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  • Julia Shaw
    March 9, 2017
    It's tough to rate a grief memoir without feeling like you're making a personal comment about the author or her experiences, so I feel a need to qualify my choice of three stars... I'm very impressed with the author's writing skills and empathize with the grief she felt over her miscarriage and her spouse's alcoholism. But based on the Goodreads star descriptions I think this is solidly an "I liked it" book, without reaching the level of "really liked" or "amazing." This isn't a book that will t It's tough to rate a grief memoir without feeling like you're making a personal comment about the author or her experiences, so I feel a need to qualify my choice of three stars... I'm very impressed with the author's writing skills and empathize with the grief she felt over her miscarriage and her spouse's alcoholism. But based on the Goodreads star descriptions I think this is solidly an "I liked it" book, without reaching the level of "really liked" or "amazing." This isn't a book that will turn me into a proselytizer, and "urgency with which I would recommend it to other readers" is one of my internal benchmarks for elevating a book to the four-star level. The writing is eloquent and evocative, and I enjoyed many of Ariel Levy's feminist cultural analyses, and her depictions of the heady days of Manhattan in the 90s. There were several parts of the memoir, though, that seemed to lack the level of rigorous self-awareness I expected of Levy: she's quick to turn her keen insights and sharp critiques on other people, but less so when it comes to scrutinizing her own actions and psychology. I guess I wanted a bit more, particularly when she was engaged in the second of her ongoing adulterous affairs. The indignation I felt from certain characters who struggled to conceive children in their late 30s and early 40s seemed to contain an interesting kernel of entitlement around the notion of "having it all" that perhaps warranted deeper exploration. I found the preface a bit misleading, and I think in a way that undermined the entire book for me. She writes about friends who come over, "They wanted to meet the baby. He's dead, I had to tell them." She writes she "didn't have the heart to tell them" about her spouse, and that she's been newly confronted with the reality that "anything you think is yours by right can vanish." She writes of having to sell her house. So, silly me, I read this preface and understood the baby to be a living, breathing infant whom people might conceivably be able to meet. I thought she was going to lose her home, her spouse, and her child during one catastrophic trip to Mongolia. I didn't realize that the "loss" of her spouse was not due to a death, but to the author's choice to disengage from her partner when it became clear that her partner's struggle for sobriety would be a long, uphill battle with no guaranteed outcome. The dead son she describes had never been born, which of course I would have known if I'd read the copy, but somehow missed in the opening preface.... This is a personal problem, but I found myself objecting to the author's need to sensationalize her loss and put it in such mythic terms ("Am I in an Italian opera? A Greek tragedy?"). She's not unique in experiencing loss and disappointment, and she's not a victim, though at times she seems not to realize that. The scene in Mongolia when she miscarries is heartbreaking, and of course the loss is horrific--I guess I just felt like it was horrific enough on its own terms without her needing to dramatize it. It is an effective tactic, I suppose, in impressing the reader with the extent of her own grief and putting it in terms the reader can perhaps more fully appreciate. But tragic though it is, a miscarriage is really not the same as losing a living baby you've carried to term and given birth to. (I feel callous and horrible and self-loathing for writing that, and I'm sorry, but it's not the same.) The home in question was actually her summer home, which, though devastating to Levy, is not exactly an epic tragedy... Well, I feel like a complete bitch now. Memoirs often have a tendency to sensationalize events that really aren't that extraordinary: she had a miscarriage and is going through a divorce. It's introduced in such sensational terms that I spent most of the book wondering what possible confluence of events could have resulted in three devastating losses heaped on one another, but it's not really like that. I would have found the loss of her pregnancy and dissolution of her marriage and end of the life she'd been building heartbreaking even without the extreme introduction. Her reaction to those events felt a bit myopic. She never mentions how common it is to miscarry--according to March of Dimes, as many as 50% of all pregnancies result in miscarriage (15-25% of recognized pregnancies)--or to divorce (about 50% of marriages end in divorce), or to lose your home (according to NHP, some 70% of Americans fear losing their home). I felt like she had an opportunity to broaden the scope and speak to the more universal aspects of her experiences, but I guess it's too raw and too personal for her to go there yet.I really did enjoy this book and my heart goes out to Levy--I hope she finds what she's looking for and manages to get everything she wants out of life.
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  • Cynthia
    March 14, 2017
    I found "Rules Do Not Apply" moving and relatable. She does a good job of deleaneating the spectrum of sexuality, in fact probably the best I've read anywhere. She describes her feelings about people without regard, or very little, for whether they're male or female. She chooses romantic partners based on her love for them and of course that undefinable zing that makes someone attractive though her longest romantic partner was a woman.Her odyssey in finding a life partner and starting a family i I found "Rules Do Not Apply" moving and relatable. She does a good job of deleaneating the spectrum of sexuality, in fact probably the best I've read anywhere. She describes her feelings about people without regard, or very little, for whether they're male or female. She chooses romantic partners based on her love for them and of course that undefinable zing that makes someone attractive though her longest romantic partner was a woman.Her odyssey in finding a life partner and starting a family is at the heart of this book though we get to go along with her to exotic places like Africa and Mongolia or where ever else she goes to chase a story to write about. Her adventures with motherhood were touching but at the end of this shortmemoir I wanted to know how it all turns out but since she's probably in here army forties and can be forgiven for the cliffhanger since she's yet to live the rest of her life.Rules is very well written, has an offbeat sense of humor, and is engaging.Thanks to the publishers for providing an e-copy.
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  • Janet
    March 8, 2017
    Holy moly. This book wrecked me, yet, at the last page, I was left feeling both more exposed and more whole than when I began. Ariel Levy writes with such stark, gutting honesty it feels like I know her in real life. I am so grateful to have read her story and will be honored to hand the book to others once it is officially released.
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  • Ashley Filippo
    February 13, 2017
    2.5*I won this book in a giveaway and was really pumped to read it. Memoirs are hard to rate, I don't want to come off as judging the author personally. Ariel is good at writing without a doubt, but her storytelling was all over the place to me, especially at the beginning. What happened to her was tragic and traumatizing, and those chapters were heartbreaking. But otherwise everything else felt superficial and lacking depth. I wanted more from her personally and a cohesiveness that flowed.
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    February 16, 2017
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“For the first time I can remember, I cannot locate my competent self- one more missing person.”Ariel Levy tells us people told her all her life she was too much, but what does that mean? And why is a woman ever too much? I was surprised by how much I enjoyed spending time with her thoughts, past, grief, mistakes. We can find common ground in any life, regardless of how they differ from our own, maybe if we did that more often we’d be a hell of via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“For the first time I can remember, I cannot locate my competent self- one more missing person.”Ariel Levy tells us people told her all her life she was too much, but what does that mean? And why is a woman ever too much? I was surprised by how much I enjoyed spending time with her thoughts, past, grief, mistakes. We can find common ground in any life, regardless of how they differ from our own, maybe if we did that more often we’d be a hell of a lot more accepting of others. What struck me the hardest was the pain I felt reading about Caster Semenya, because Levy beautifully expressed how devastating it is to be a human being whose most intimate parts are ‘suspect’. For just that moment, I sunk into the shock of such a emotional ‘stoning’, and cannot imagine the humiliation of such accusations made public worldwide on top of all that horror. Levy’s writing in that chapter was visceral for me, I thought about it for days. Writing that can have such an effect on you, that can pull you out of your skin and into another’s is the gifted sort. There was so much to think about, to relate to, for any of us- this gutted me. “But throughout her childhood, her gender had been the subject of suspicion and curiosity wherever she went. ‘It looks like a boy’- that’s the right words,” Sako told me. “They used to say, ‘It looks like a boy.’ The very ideal, the IT, made me sick. Levy’s thoughts on the horrible incident exposes so much about the world and gender.There was more that made me ache. Life can be beautiful, blessed but you never know what can go wrong, or worse- how you can do such stupid, human things that bring everything you built down around your ears. We hurt those we love, we lie, we get nostalgic or hungry and lose ourselves in a moment of greed and blow it all. We don’t know what to do with our grief, so we leave it alone, poking at it, letting it fester until it consumes us. Do we carry our families fears, their relationship poison in our DNA? Is that it? Do we pass down the resentment brewing in our bitter hearts to our children, and their children and so on and so forth?Even Levy’s own parents had a relationship different from the norm. Love is not a box we all live in, well defined and perfectly contained. Just when we have it, so many of us betray our lovers, or ourselves. Why? Why do we sometimes think we must have more? Is it something missing in ourselves? Just when she has everything, she suffers a devastating loss. In our world we’re pushed to brush ourselves off and get over it. (Doesn’t matter if it’s a divorce, a death, a miscarriage) in this vast world you are not the first to suffer and therefore you should move along, perk up, try again. You can just FIX all of it! But life isn’t that pliable. We can’t bring back what’s been lost. Blindness in love is universal. Needing someone there who is absent when we break is akin to falling into a black-hole. It’s so hard to be the rock for yourself when you need nurturing.This memoir is intimate, tender, beautiful. Your gender doesn’t really matter, nor whether you are in a straight or gay marriage. The struggles are there for all of us, aren’t they? The joy as much as the disappointments. You may be living a grand life and just one event can alter everything you thought was real and true. None of us are safe from nature, nor others actions or worse- our own choices. There is beauty in that, and horror too. Maybe the horrible things that happen to us, that we do to ourselves and each other have a lesson, maybe it’s all just chaos and chance but it’s the price we pay for being living flesh in this world. Maybe we should stand strong and not rely on another but that isn’t a guarantee from pain either. Either way, Levy’s memoir tells us all we aren’t alone in grief, loss.Publication Date: March 14, 2017Random House
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  • Castille
    December 19, 2016
    While I'm still searching for a memoir that I enjoy as much as anything by Augusten Burroughs, Levy's work is very good. I had previously read Thanksgiving in Mongolia, which produced in me a visceral reaction-- the height of great writing-- so I was excited to have the opportunity to read an advanced copy of her full memoir. I would give the first 2/3 of the book a 3, but once it gets to the Thanksgiving story, the book gets much better. I also liked reading it within a brand new context-- much While I'm still searching for a memoir that I enjoy as much as anything by Augusten Burroughs, Levy's work is very good. I had previously read Thanksgiving in Mongolia, which produced in me a visceral reaction-- the height of great writing-- so I was excited to have the opportunity to read an advanced copy of her full memoir. I would give the first 2/3 of the book a 3, but once it gets to the Thanksgiving story, the book gets much better. I also liked reading it within a brand new context-- much of my previous assumptions about the writer based on the stand alone piece were shattered and reconstructed based on the new information in the book. Don't expect a full-length novel version of the incredible wit and heartbreak of Mongolia, but do expect a solid piece of memoir writing.
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  • Cindy
    January 23, 2017
    I usually try not to read memoirs by people I don't know or haven't heard about, but I loved the title of this book and I decided to request it on Netgalley. This book moved me, it made me upset, sad, nostalgic, it really got under my skin. Levy writes from her soul and her entire heart oozes from those pages. I could not get over how real, truthful and raw her stories were. It is clear she did not hold anything back, I cannot imagine writing about such difficult topics in such depth and honesty I usually try not to read memoirs by people I don't know or haven't heard about, but I loved the title of this book and I decided to request it on Netgalley. This book moved me, it made me upset, sad, nostalgic, it really got under my skin. Levy writes from her soul and her entire heart oozes from those pages. I could not get over how real, truthful and raw her stories were. It is clear she did not hold anything back, I cannot imagine writing about such difficult topics in such depth and honesty. The books reminded me a little of "When Breath Becomes Air", both were so moving and real. This is definitely a must read.
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  • Joanna
    March 16, 2017
    Beautifully-written and unflinchingly honest (if, at times, hard to read).
  • Mike
    January 7, 2017
    I'd been knocked out by "Thanksgiving in Mongolia", Ariel Levy's piece in the New Yorker from 2014 about the child she lost while pregnant. I attributed part of my reaction to personal reasons; I attributed the rest to Levy's bravery and skill. When I discovered she had a full memoir that included the events of "Thanksgiving in Mongolia" coming, I requested an ARC from Random House and was fortunate enough to receive one. "The Rules Do Not Apply" is chiefly about the buildup to Levy's life falli I'd been knocked out by "Thanksgiving in Mongolia", Ariel Levy's piece in the New Yorker from 2014 about the child she lost while pregnant. I attributed part of my reaction to personal reasons; I attributed the rest to Levy's bravery and skill. When I discovered she had a full memoir that included the events of "Thanksgiving in Mongolia" coming, I requested an ARC from Random House and was fortunate enough to receive one. "The Rules Do Not Apply" is chiefly about the buildup to Levy's life falling apart... a run of good fortune that ended thanks to a hidden landmine, unattributable to mistake. No, this is a memoir about an expectant mother and Mother Nature. There is a sentence towards the end about surrender and safety. I won't forget it. In a way, you could argue that the entire point of writing is to observe, interpret, and articulate. Some writers are better at one or two of the three. Those who can hit all three marks have the chance to be great. Levy and "The Rules Do Not Apply" are great.
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  • Valerie Gow
    December 4, 2016
    Astonishing, devastating, must reading.
  • Harvee
    March 25, 2017
    The plight of the modern woman outlined in this memoir: what happens or could happen when you want it all - all of life, together, at the same time, without necessarily making the sacrifices and trade-offs that may be required for a more predictable outcome. Revealing, honest.
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  • Sara Morrison
    March 14, 2017
    Going into this book, I did not know anything about the author; I had never even heard of her before. I had heard a lot of people taking about this book so I thought I would give it a go. Part 1 made me angry. I thought, "why would she write this? She's just making herself seem like a terrible person. I don't like this." Part 2 just made me sad. I never knew I could feel so sad for a person I had only the slightest knowledge about. Part 3 just made sense. It was the logical ending to this book. Going into this book, I did not know anything about the author; I had never even heard of her before. I had heard a lot of people taking about this book so I thought I would give it a go. Part 1 made me angry. I thought, "why would she write this? She's just making herself seem like a terrible person. I don't like this." Part 2 just made me sad. I never knew I could feel so sad for a person I had only the slightest knowledge about. Part 3 just made sense. It was the logical ending to this book. Overall, I didn't love this book. I didn't learn anything from it, and it mainly just made me upset (and not in a way that a book should). It was well-written, and there were some truly good elements to it, but I don't think I would recommend this book to anyone.
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  • Claire McNeill
    March 15, 2017
    This was so disappointing.
  • Courtney
    February 8, 2017
    Where do I begin to comment on this memoir? I actually can't believe that I only gave it three stars. I think this is because m I just have come off of a run of reading a handful of phenomenal memoirs in a row, so this one just fell flat for me. I can definitely see the appeal that it will have commercially though. With its bright orange and pink cover, it is sure to stand out; plus, there is something for everyone (okay, mostly females) in this read. It is so honest... so raw… and eventually, s Where do I begin to comment on this memoir? I actually can't believe that I only gave it three stars. I think this is because m I just have come off of a run of reading a handful of phenomenal memoirs in a row, so this one just fell flat for me. I can definitely see the appeal that it will have commercially though. With its bright orange and pink cover, it is sure to stand out; plus, there is something for everyone (okay, mostly females) in this read. It is so honest... so raw… and eventually, so heartbreaking. It really reminded me of Camilla Gibb's "This is Happy" because there wasn't a lot of hope in it; it didn't end happily, but it did end with some realizations and that was enough. Ariel Levy is a paradox – she wants one thing but is constantly pulled to another - from motherhood and independence to gay marriage and adultery, she fluctuates between “having” and “longing for” in so many ways. Yes, she is successful writer with great ambitions but she is also insanely human and prone to grave errors in judgement – as we all are. Throughout the three parts of her book that I would categorize as: Hoping and Striving (career-wise and relationships), Achieving (pregnancy), Falling Apart (losing her dreams and starting over) she introduces the reader to the people in her life. These individuals have issues of their own that she explores with a level of depth and compassion. In the end, Levy showcases that everybody cannot have everything and that even if we plan out our lives, our lives sometimes have other plans for us. Sure, we can ask ourselves many questions throughout our time on earth and we can try so hard to figure out the answers and to create meaning, yet sometimes all we have left is to simply surrender to what is. Most women from their late teens through to old age will embrace this book. They will see pieces of themselves reflected in Levy and, if for some reason they do not, their hearts will be grow with more compassion because of the struggles that bind us all together.
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  • Judy N
    January 29, 2017
    Levy writes in a spare style that is poetry in prose, and so much is packed into this memoir. I had read "Thanksgiving in Mongolia" and that foreshadowing did influence my sense of her memoir before the incident, as I knew the outcome of her debate about her life decision. Levy has traveled the globe and spoken to major figures and their stories are deftly woven into her memoir of coming of age and struggling with relationships, work, family, expectations, life. I debated a "4+", but this is a b Levy writes in a spare style that is poetry in prose, and so much is packed into this memoir. I had read "Thanksgiving in Mongolia" and that foreshadowing did influence my sense of her memoir before the incident, as I knew the outcome of her debate about her life decision. Levy has traveled the globe and spoken to major figures and their stories are deftly woven into her memoir of coming of age and struggling with relationships, work, family, expectations, life. I debated a "4+", but this is a book that resonated and could be read and re-read and discussed. It's a memoir that raises essential questions, and provokes thought. Beautifully written and powerful.
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  • Kayla Whitaker
    January 20, 2017
    I loved this - it was deeply felt, at points devastatingly so. I was drawn to this because I enjoyed Levy's writing in The New Yorker, particularly her piece on the Van Dykes (a group of revolutionary 1970s lesbians who traveled around in vans and adopted the fitting surname "Van Dyke"), and I'm glad I picked it up, so much so that I've gone back and added her 2005 "Female Chauvinist Pigs" to my to-read list.
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  • Anmiryam
    January 23, 2017
    Not my type of memoir -- didn't move beyond Ariel's own experience into something larger or more universal.
  • Stephanie
    February 1, 2017
    Reads like a long New Yorker article. Heartbreaking, redemptive and hopeful.
  • Darlene
    March 14, 2017
    As a fan of fiction more than any other kind of reading, it is alway hard for me to "grade" an autobiography. It isn't up to me to judge another's life or path, so I feel I am invading a bit when it is time to review. Yet this book called to me from NetGalley as one I might like to read and review.I have to admit it kept my interest. Many reviewers say the author's emotions are raw in this memoir. That may be so. I just found them honest and refreshing. As a fertile-Myrtle, who had, as most of m As a fan of fiction more than any other kind of reading, it is alway hard for me to "grade" an autobiography. It isn't up to me to judge another's life or path, so I feel I am invading a bit when it is time to review. Yet this book called to me from NetGalley as one I might like to read and review.I have to admit it kept my interest. Many reviewers say the author's emotions are raw in this memoir. That may be so. I just found them honest and refreshing. As a fertile-Myrtle, who had, as most of my generation, my children in my early twenties, I never heard that egg-timer to get pregnant or forget it. I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice to have another?" and boom I was pregnant. So the despair of the author seems another reality I've not been close to. In that case, I think it right to go into the depth with her and see what her reality has been. Would my story of a baby every couple years and only at home ever be as interesting to her generation? So I find her lucky to have experienced so many things I never got to see. That she had the freedom to explore her sexuality after being an adult, who got to see the world I may never see, isn't sad. Those were the parts of the story I truly enjoyed.But I don't want to demean or in any way put down her path and especially not the sad parts of it. That need to reproduce is very strong in many of us and to have that turn out so badly hurts my soul for her. That is why I like to read autobiographies. I can lead many lives that way. I can see how things might have been had I made other choices or had nature played nasty tricks on my life. I think it helps to develop empathy to read another's story. And this may be one you might like. Give it a try.
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  • Bookish
    March 17, 2017
    A few years ago, I was knocked out by Ariel Levy‘s “Thanksgiving in Mongolia” article for the New Yorker. The other day (which was, incidentally, a few days after the first anniversary of my divorce), I read an interview in Longreads with Levy. After I finished it, I immediately bought and began reading her new memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply. The book begins with brutal honesty, gallows humor, and a legitimate and simmering rage. It’s a necessary book for any of us who have lost big, and maybe i A few years ago, I was knocked out by Ariel Levy‘s “Thanksgiving in Mongolia” article for the New Yorker. The other day (which was, incidentally, a few days after the first anniversary of my divorce), I read an interview in Longreads with Levy. After I finished it, I immediately bought and began reading her new memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply. The book begins with brutal honesty, gallows humor, and a legitimate and simmering rage. It’s a necessary book for any of us who have lost big, and maybe it is even more necessary for those of you who haven’t. I know as I read on that I will be pulled apart by grief and heartache, but I also I suspect that by the end I will be puzzled back together with all of my pieces rearranged into the places where they were meant to be. —Myf (https://www.bookish.com/articles/what...)
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  • Nina
    March 26, 2017
    Oof
  • Amy
    March 26, 2017
    I had to read this in a day as I coulen't put it down. Very powerful. Beautifully written.
  • Matt.io
    March 27, 2017
    It was amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!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  • Debra
    March 12, 2017
    In her memoir Ariel Levy challenges the feminist notion of 'having it all' - a myth she feels she was sold by an earlier generation that shaped her expectations for her adult life. Unfortunately life doesn't fit within the boundaries of feminist theory and alcoholism, adultery, the reality of marriage, grief and loss intrude into her well-ordered life. The book has been criticised as a neoliberal white feminist memoir of privilege and entitlement about complaining that women can't get everything In her memoir Ariel Levy challenges the feminist notion of 'having it all' - a myth she feels she was sold by an earlier generation that shaped her expectations for her adult life. Unfortunately life doesn't fit within the boundaries of feminist theory and alcoholism, adultery, the reality of marriage, grief and loss intrude into her well-ordered life. The book has been criticised as a neoliberal white feminist memoir of privilege and entitlement about complaining that women can't get everything that they want (see Charlotte Shane's review in New Republic). If you are looking for an intersectional feminist manifesto deconstructing patriarchy - this book is not for you.Levy never sinks into whiney melodrama, a trap into which many writers could easily fall. Instead she gives a unflinchingly honest account of her experience on the path to motherhood. A path that expects 'sucessful' (read privileged, well-educated, well-paid) women to wait until they 'have it all' and then in their late thirties and forties try to conceive. A path that demonstrates that society is well out of synch with biology, with devastating results.Thanks to NetGalley for giving me an ARC in return for an honest review.
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  • Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves
    March 13, 2017
    Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with an advanced copy of this book.I immediately fell for the writing in this searing memoir of self-examination by a current New Yorker staff writer (also a native of my current town). Levy takes a brutally raw and honest look at her life including love, massive loss, and bad decisions. Her style is rambling – covering topics from crafting her career as a professional writer to gardening to covering the Caster Semenya story (the South Africa Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with an advanced copy of this book.I immediately fell for the writing in this searing memoir of self-examination by a current New Yorker staff writer (also a native of my current town). Levy takes a brutally raw and honest look at her life including love, massive loss, and bad decisions. Her style is rambling – covering topics from crafting her career as a professional writer to gardening to covering the Caster Semenya story (the South African runner who was gender-tested at the 2009 Berlin World Championships) to her views on marriage in general and gay marriage specifically (she’s a lesbian) to infidelity to Mike Huckabee to late-in-life pregnancy – but it flows seamlessly. It’s a risky thing to market a book as “for readers of Cheryl Strayed” and, while I’m not putting Levy on equal footing with the giant, the comparison is not unfounded.For more reviews, visit my blog: https://www.sarahsbookshelves.com/
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  • Bill Marshall
    March 13, 2017
     A brief memoir by an accomplished New Yorker Magazine writer. Levy writes well about a miscarriage, a loss too often not given the weight it deserves.  The Rules Do Not Apply could serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who is young, physically attractive, endowed with a strong social network, highly intelligent and talented. Some of the rules do, in fact, apply. To you. You may be jetting to exotic places, writing about them and living well in New York City, where you go to parties with bold fa  A brief memoir by an accomplished New Yorker Magazine writer. Levy writes well about a miscarriage, a loss too often not given the weight it deserves.  The Rules Do Not Apply could serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who is young, physically attractive, endowed with a strong social network, highly intelligent and talented. Some of the rules do, in fact, apply. To you. You may be jetting to exotic places, writing about them and living well in New York City, where you go to parties with bold face names, but there may be wants and needs that elude you.
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  • Matt
    March 2, 2017
    I received an advanced copy of this book on Netgalley. Beautifully written and heart wrenching, as you see the rise and fall of a relationship, the build towards and loss of a child. The strength of the writing and arc of the story left me wanting more after the tragedy hits, as the story felt like it dropped off after that life defining incident, as I wanted to see more of the human and emotional fall out from that portion of her life, how she dealt with that personally within herself, her rela I received an advanced copy of this book on Netgalley. Beautifully written and heart wrenching, as you see the rise and fall of a relationship, the build towards and loss of a child. The strength of the writing and arc of the story left me wanting more after the tragedy hits, as the story felt like it dropped off after that life defining incident, as I wanted to see more of the human and emotional fall out from that portion of her life, how she dealt with that personally within herself, her relationship, and seeing it play out more within the pages of the story. There was such a strong, page turning momentum leading up to Ariel going overseas for her life defining story, that once it was over it felt like the story lost momentum it had built up. Only something written as beautifully and with the strength in prose could allow for me to give such a positive review while becoming dissapointed to have not gotten more.
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