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The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 14, 2017
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An Amazon Best Book of March 2017: The preface of Ariel Levy’s memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply, is a knock-out. Though it’s the Cliffs Notes to her book/life, it’s written with such clarity that it transcends the searing pain and devastating loss that she’s about to chronicle: “I am thunderstruck by feeling at odd times, and then I find myself gripping the kitchen counter, a subway pole, a friend’s body, so I won’t fall over. I don’t mean that figuratively. My sorrow is so intense it often feels like it will flatten me.” With brawny and disarming candor, Levy weaves together the story of her life exactly as she was determined to live it – becoming a staff writer for the New Yorker, falling in love with her partner (“feeling molten and golden and saved”), writing their own vows (“gay marriage wasn’t even legal—we were making it up!”), becoming pregnant at 37 – and how it all came crashing down. Teeming with vitality and wit, The Rules Do Not Apply is a memoir sparkling with insight on grief and grit. --Al Woodworth, The Amazon Book Review
“I read The Rules Do Not Apply in one long, rapt sitting. Unflinching and intimate, wrenching and revelatory, Ariel Levy’s powerful memoir about love, loss, and finding one’s way shimmers with truth and heart on every page.”—Cheryl Strayed
“Every deep feeling a human is capable of will be shaken loose by this profound book. Ariel Levy has taken grief and made art out of it.”—David Sedaris
“Beautifully crafted . . . This book is haunting; it is smart and engaging. It was so engrossing that I read it in a day.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Levy’s wise and poignant memoir is the voice of a new generation of women, full of grit, pathos, truth, and inspiration. Being in her presence is energizing and ennobling. Reading her deep little book is inspiring.”—San Francisco Book Review
“Levy has the rare gift of seeing herself with fierce, unforgiving clarity. And she deploys prose to match, raw and agile. She plumbs the commotion deep within and takes the measure of her have-it-all generation.”—The Atlantic
“Cheryl Strayed meets a Nora Ephron movie. You’ll laugh, ugly cry, and finish it before the weekend’s over.”—theSkimm
“This year’s must-read memoir.”—W
“Levy’s tone is deeply honest, and at the same time manages to not be defensive or apologetic about her decisions; she’s not judgmental, but remains highly inquisitive. The through line is her struggle to see things as accurately as possible, to translate her gift for interview and narrative into something personally productive. . . . I loved Levy’s book.”—Jezebel
“[The Rules Do Not Apply] is a short, sharp American memoir in the Mary Karr tradition of life-chronicling. . . . Levy, like Karr, is a natural writer who is also as unsparing and bleakly hilarious as it’s possible to be about oneself. . . . I devoured her story in one sitting.”—Financial Times
“It’s an act of courage to hunt for meaning within grief, particularly if the search upends your life and shakes out the contents for all the world to sift through. Levy embarks on the hunt beautifully.”—Chicago Tribune
“Frank and unflinchingly sincere . . . A gut-wrenching, emotionally charged work of soul-baring writing in the spirit of Joan Didion, Helen Macdonald, and Elizabeth Gilbert . . . A must-read for women.”—Bustle
“Ariel Levy is a writer of uncompromising honesty, remarkable clarity, and surprising humor gathered from the wreckage of tragedy. I am the better for having read this book.”—Lena Dunham
“Ariel Levy seems to be living out the unlived lives of an entire generation of women, simultaneously. Free to do whatever she chooses, she chooses everything. While reinventing work, marriage, family, pregnancy, sex, and divorce for herself from the ground up, Levy experiences devastating loss. And she recounts it all here with searing intimacy and an unsentimental yet openhearted rigor.”—Alison Bechdel
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Here's a good way to tell if this book would be of interest to you. If you find the following paragraph to be well written and worth exploring (even if you think the answers to these questions should be reasonably self-evident), you will likely enjoy the book: "Who cares if sometimes you bring out your seduction skill set - briefly! -for a person other than your spouse and you have a little adventure with your body? Why did that have to be at your spouse's expense? Couldn't you promise your deepest love, your first allegiance, to your favorite person without locking yourself in a chastity belt and presenting her with the key?"
This is all about the life of someone who you may not be very interested in learning about unless you are a big fan of her prior limited work. I do not diminish her experiences but they are described in detail without extrapolating to allow insights or takeaways to the greater good. One would hope that if someone writes a memoir as opposed to an autobiography they have something broader and more universal and inspirational to say. Not the case here. I thought I was buying a cake and I got a crumb.
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Why was this book even ever published?Read more