Book Review: The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

The Rules Do Not ApplyThe Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: March 14, 2017
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

When 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 “deeply human and deeply moving” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being, in her own words, “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed—and of what is eternal.

Ariel Levy’s memoir is about her relationship with her pregnancy and her relationship with her spouse. She wrote a shorter version of this time in her life as an article for The New Yorker and decided to expand it into a book. I picked up this book because David Sedaris recommended it. Whenever he goes on tour he recommends a book that he thinks his fans should read.

I didn’t find Levy very relatable but then again, I have never been in the situations she has. The level of denial she had about her partner’s alcoholism was astounding to me. And it was hard for me not to blame her just a little for choosing to travel to a third world country while pregnant. My heart still ached for her though. Losing a child is just about the worst thing that can happen to a person. I still liked the book – I don’t need to agree with a person to enjoy learning about them and their life and to sympathize with them. Enjoy doesn’t really sound like the right word since this book was so sad but I’m not sure what word to use instead.

The Rules Do Not Apply is the kind of book that would be good to read when you need a good cry. It’s relatively short so you can read it all at once for a cathartic experience.


  • S.G. Wright

    Oh thx for the review. I’m on the wait list for this one at the library though I’m not sure I really knew what it was about; wondering: do I need a good cry? hmm. I probably will have some of the same feelings as you had about Levy.