Book Review – The Rules Do Not Apply

The Rules Do Not Apply
By Ariel Levy
Rating: ****

When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.

Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules–about work, about love, and about womanhood.

In this memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed–and of what is eternal.


Ariel’s memoir deals with terrible personal losses in her life focusing mainly on loss and grief this book isn’t exactly all smiles and laughter, but it is a raw, emotional and brave account of how life can just be so shit sometimes!

“In the last few months, I have lost my son, my spouse and my house. Every morning I wake up and for a few seconds I’m disorientated, confused as to why I feel grief seeping into my body, and then I remember what has become of my life.”

The first part of the book is about Ariel’s rise in the reporting world and explaining about a few previously bad relationships in her life. It then goes on to her life with her partner Lucy, who they buy a house together and decide to have a child, Ariel is 38 as she like so many women in the modern world chose a blossoming career first, before children. Unfortunately for Ariel, she miscarries whilst reporting abroad and the book has a really graphic descriptive scene about how it happened. Although intense to read, I just kept thinking how brave of her to write about this and for so many people to read a very personal and traumatic experience. She also has to come to terms with her partner being an alcoholic and thus her relationship with her partner Lucy breaks down.

Suffice to say Ariel was going through a really shit time in her life, I hope that all these horrific and life changing experiences have in some way helped her, my heart goes out to her and I hope that she has found peace and happiness in her life.

I’m not going to lie, this memoir is quite depressing but it is full of honesty, humor and written in a way that keeps you gripped. The writing is beautiful and thought provoking and Ariel as a person is inspiring.

This book is a sad reminder that life doesn’t always go to plan, but if you stay strong and have courage you can move forward and go down a new path.

It’s difficult to describe how I “enjoyed” reading this book, because enjoy isn’t the right word. It is very beautiful yet haunting and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read memoirs about lifes battles and hardships. Has anyone else read this? What were your thoughts on it? Katie x

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