NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “This Year’s Must-Read Memoir” (W magazine) about the choices a young woman makes in her search for adventure, meaning, and love
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Vogue • Time • Esquire • Entertainment Weekly • The Guardian • Harper’s Bazaar • Library Journal • NPR
All her life, Ariel Levy was told that she was too fervent, too forceful, too much. As a young woman, she decided that becoming a writer would perfectly channel her strength and desire. She would be a professional explorer—“the kind of woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Levy moved to Manhattan to pursue her dream, and spent years of adventure, traveling all over the world writing stories about unconventional heroines, following their fearless examples in her own life.
But when she experiences unthinkable heartbreak, Levy is forced to surrender her illusion of control. In telling her story, Levy has captured a portrait of our time, of the shifting forces in American culture, of what has changed and what has remained. And of how to begin again.
Praise for The Rules Do Not Apply
“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
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
What do you do when your heart’s been shattered and the life you’ve built has been blown to smithereens? If you’re Ariel Levy—a staff writer at The New Yorker—you try to make sense of things through words and stories. Levy’s memoir is breathtakingly honest and exquisitely beautiful. Her story is unlike any other we’ve read, but it’s sure to resonate with anyone who’s been forced to start over.
In this dark and absorbing memoir, Levy (Female Chauvinist Pigs), a staff writer for the New Yorker, recounts her complicated life and, with stunning clarity, reveals that the best laid plans can be sidetracked. As a child in Larchmont, N.Y., Levy was taught that she could achieve anything she wanted. Her mother encouraged her to make her own rules, with one caveat: never become dependent upon a man. As a successful young writer in the 1990s (first for New York magazine), Levy traveled widely, writing primarily on the topic of sexuality and gender. At 28, she fell in love with and married a 41-year-old woman with substance abuse problems. Though Levy longed for motherhood and a comfortable life, she also had a "compulsion" for adventure. Ten years later she got pregnant with the help of a sperm donor and then suffered a miscarriage while on assignment in Mongolia. Levy took a writerly approach to the narrative of her own life, believing that her personal story would unfold as if she had penned it. Her awakening to the fact that life doesn't always cooperate with one's plan is raw and compelling. Though some of the lessons learned in this memorable story are painful, Levy ultimately finds redemption in her ability to glimpse the light beyond the darkness, and to gain a deepening gratitude for friends, family, and her profession.
Couldn’t put this down
Engrossing and heartbreaking. Such a fantastic writer. I don’t know how anyone could give this less than 5 stars.