The Rules Do Not Apply
A raw and starkly honest memoir that deals with the question, can you have it all? Levy, a successful journalist for the New Yorker, a feminist in an open marriage and pregnant via artificial insemination by a friend and co-parent, believed you can. Until on a work trip to Mongolia, she loses everything. Written without self-pity, but with surprising candour and clarity this book throws up questions about how you give meaning to trauma and what happens when a planned life unravels. Essential.
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‘Every deep feeling a human is capable of will be shaken loose by this short, but profound book’ David Sedaris
‘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.
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