The Rules Do Not Apply
'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.' Ariel Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she lived believing that conventional rules no longer applied - that marriage doesn't have to mean monogamy, that aging doesn't have to mean infertility, that she could be 'the kind of woman who is free to do whatever she chooses'. But all of her assumptions about what she can control are undone after a string of overwhelming losses. 'I thought I had harnessed the power of my own strength and greed and love in a life that could contain it. But it has exploded.' Levy's own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed - and what never can.
Every deep feeling a human is capable of will be shaken loose by this short, but profound book. Ariel Levy has taken grief, and made art out of it -- David Sedaris It's become a truism that feminists are living out our mothers' unlived lives. But 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. But this is no mindless primer on having or not having it all. 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, author of Fun Home Ariel Levy is a writer of uncompromising honesty, remarkable clarity and surprising humor, gathered from the wreckage of tragedy. Her account of life doing its darnedest to topple her, and her refusal to be knocked down, will leave you shaken and inspired. Her ersatz brand of zen wisdom is one we all need in our lives. I am the better for having read this book -- Lena Dunham Levy is a fantastic writer and reporter, cool-headed, witty and without self-pity -- Rachel Cooke Observer A great memoir is not just a trip through someone else's life, but a series of long looks into your own life. Ariel Levy's book - grieving, hopeful, painful, funny - is that -- Amy Bloom
Ariel Levy joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008 and received the National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism in 2014 for her piece 'Thanksgiving in Mongolia'. She is the author of the book Female Chauvinist Pigs and was a contributing editor at New York for twelve years. ariellevy.net @avlskies