This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel…

The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir (2017)

by Ariel Levy

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3542946,837 (3.64)7

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 7 mentions

English (27)  German (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
I was glued to the book, really enjoyed the writing so that’s why it gets 4 stars. Like others have said, the ending is a mess. I skimmed over the parts where she talks to the Dr in Mongolia. Didn’t seem relevant. Also she is very privileged and didn’t seem to grasp how different her reality was from many others.

( )
  jill1121 | Jun 1, 2019 |
“At night I sat on my couch and sobbed so hard I screamed—on the couch the baby’s father and I had picked out together at a fancy store after I got my first book deal, when we were just becoming friends. When I was young. When I had no idea that all over the city, all over the world, there were people walking around sealed in their own universes of loss, independent solar systems of suffering closed off from the regular world…”

For me, like Ariel, it has often been easy to believe subconsciously that my life is destined to turn out well, to be devoid of true calamity or lasting disappointment. Intellectually, of course, that’s obviously ridiculous. But there’s a wide gap between knowing that failure is possible and truly feeling that failure is possible. It’s a great privilege to be allowed to reach adulthood without bridging that gap, but it’s certainly jarring when experiences finally force you across it.

I appreciated Ariel’s candid discussion of her life, even if - or because - it doesn’t always paint her in the most flattering light. ( )
  brokensandals | Feb 7, 2019 |
This is an exceptional memoir by an exceptional writer. I was amazed by many of the comments here. People are so hateful. Apparently if you are white, financially comfortable and educated you are not allowed to feel pain. This woman lost a child and was left by her alcoholic spouse in the space of a week. Her grief is raw and fierce, and fully analyzed. That is what we do, smart women, we analyze. And Levy doesn't shift the blame to others. She doesn't ask for sympathy. She find the humor when it is there. She takes full responsibility, more responsibility than rightly sits on her shoulders, for everyone's choices.

There is some beautiful work here about the biologically determined love for a child that grows within us as a child grows, about the price of having it all, and about defining oneself as a professional, a hard charger, when maintaining that status takes precedence over the needs of our family. How do we define ourselves as women, what is biological and what has been scripted for us, and can we ever truly succeed as individuals if we don't push past those limits? In the end, I think Levy acknowledges that after a lifetime of believing that the rules did not apply to her, that in fact many of them do. That is a tough reality to come to peace with for women like Levy, smart, competitive, focused on doing great things.

I wavered between a 4 and a 5 star rating and went with the later for several reasons. Perhaps most troubling was the way Levy skips over parts that she is not willing to think about, reverting to third person, or broad generalizations about how people feel or what they do in certain circumstances. Those sections are almost shocking the many times they are sandwiched between brutal and specific confessions and deep and meaty personal growth. I still enjoyed the hell out of this book, but I could see clear as day how it could have been even better if she had been more consistent in her analysis, so a high 4 it is. ( )
  Narshkite | Jan 10, 2019 |
(57) This woman can write. I don't really read the New Yorker (heaven forfend!) but it is clear that Levy is a keen observer of character and cultural phenomena and reports it with sharp wit and a gimlet eye. This is yet another memoir of a fairly young person writing their 'life story.' Did people who used to write autobiographies say 50-100 years ago write them in their 30's? I think its a product of the navel gazing blog writing society we live in that think their experiences so unique and fabulous regardless of their relative lack of perspective. Anyway, Ariel does not get the exciting wonderful life she thought she deserved based on her chutzpah and smarts.

I read this really quickly - it was engaging and felt real. She has a knack for description that makes the narrative pointed and compelling. And she indeed acknoledges her sense of entitlement and her poor decision-making that was making me eye-roll for much of the book. And the best line of (paraphrasing) "thinking the rules don't apply to you is the sign of a visionary. It is also however, a sign of narcissistic personality disorder." She doesn't come right out and label herself with narcissism - but it is implied and therefore (for me) forgiven.

So I liked this. I am sorry for what happened to her and I wish her well. I hope her new adventure went well. If I liked reading magazine articles I would look up hers. She is a hell of a writer. ( )
  jhowell | Dec 20, 2018 |
This was a really quick audiobook-I finished it in one day. This is a 3⭐️rating for me because, as a memoir, it is a little uneven. The author discusses her struggles with relationships and her miscarriage. The beginning of the book, however, seems unnecessary. Perhaps she included it to show how much she has grown from the person she was before. Overall, this is a good story to highlight how much things in life are often beyond our control. ( )
  redwritinghood38 | Nov 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original title
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
First words
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Do you ever talk to yourself?
Last words
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812996933, Hardcover)

A gorgeous, darkly humorous memoir for readers of Cheryl Strayed about a woman overcoming dramatic loss and finding reinvention, based on this award-winning writer’s New Yorker article “Thanksgiving in Mongolia”

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 21 Nov 2016 08:09:50 -0500)

"A gorgeous, darkly humorous memoir for readers of Cheryl Strayed about a woman overcoming dramatic loss and finding reinvention, as well as a portrait of a generation used to assuming they're entitled to everything--based on this award-winning writer's New Yorker article 'Thanksgiving in Mongolia'"-- "In 2012, at age 38, when she left on a reporting trip to Mongolia, Ariel Levy thought she had figured it out: she was married, pregnant, successful on her own terms, financially secure. A month later, none of that was true. 'People have been telling me since I was a little girl that I was too fervent, too forceful, too much. I thought I had harnessed the power of my own strength and greed and love to a life that could contain it. But it has exploded.' In gorgeous, moving, humorous, sharp, and unforgettable prose, with pointillist portraits of a girl and then a young woman coming of age, Levy describes her own ill-fated assumptions: thinking that anything is possible, that the old rules do not apply; that marriage doesn't have to mean monogamy; that gender and sexuality are fluid; that aging doesn't have to mean infertility. This is a searing story, written with humor, brilliance, and insight, that is at once personal and universal--a story about realizing that life is so often beyond our control, and how we forge ahead despite that. In telling her own story, Levy has captured a portrait of our time, of the shifting forces in values, women and gender in American culture, of what has changed and what has remained"--… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.64)
1 2
2 11
2.5 1
3 22
3.5 11
4 34
4.5 7
5 16

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 136,315,482 books! | Top bar: Always visible