Book Review – The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy

Having read Chris Kraus’ ‘I Love Dick’ – a cult feminist classic and been thoroughly disappointed there was little chance I would pull a book from the feminist stack for sometime. Somehow, this one crept through the ‘anti-feminist’ novels and I am glad to say it did.

The book of choice

The Rules Do Not Apply, A Memoir, Ariel Levy

Why this book?

Ariel Levy writes with truth and honestly but with some beautiful words. As Ariel left for a work trip to Mongolia, she was married, pregnant, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.

I have been watching a series with my son and the mother has an affair and he hates her because of it. Discussing how life is not black and white is very difficult with a young person who sees the world with a clear set of rules. This book is as the title says, the rules of that world do not apply.

The Author

Ariel Levy is a staff writer for The New Yorker. Ariel has two books and many of her pieces have centred around feminism and sexuality. She is not afraid to challenge the new era of ‘raunch’ and question woman watching pornography as a symbol of strength.

Why should you read it?

I mentioned her words are beautiful and the quotes below reflect some of them.

“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.”

“Mother nature starts many more projects than she can ever finish.”

“There is nothing I love more than traveling to a place where I know nobody and where everything will be a surprise, and then writing about it.”

“Death comes for us. You may get ten minutes on this earth or you may get eighty years but nobody gets out alive.”

“The whole point is that everybody gets to marry the person they love.”

“You have an affair to get for yourself what you wish would come from the person you love the most. And then you have broken her heart and she can never give you any of it ever again.”

Ariel Levy, The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir

This is a lovely book that deals with the messy reality of life. The rollercoaster of ups and downs are true for all of us. Rich, poor, successful and not so successful. The way we deal with what life throws us is the shaping of us.

We all know that growth is something I look for every day. Here is a book about Ariel’s strength through everything plummeting at once.

In Summary

I relate to years of IVF and the strain it puts on your relationship but more importantly the quote that mother nature starts many more projects than she can finish is such a lovely way to accept the tragedies mother nature disperses unfairly to some and not to others. Why one family suffers over and over and yet another float along in a bubble of blissful happiness.

A book of ‘keeping-it-together’ and female strength, it is one for the must-read piles. I question if I am a true feminist and this book made me ponder my own strength and beliefs. Do you think you are a true feminist?


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