Rules Do Apply

I wanted what we all want: everything.” Thus begins Ariel Levy’s life motto in her new memoir The Rules Do Not Apply. The author of the critically acclaimed Female Chauvinist Pigs has penned a remarkable and unabashedly honest account of her life, specifically focusing on a multitude of desired (or expected) end results: a fantastic and interesting career, a bevy of solid friendships, a long term partner, a home and a family—all emanating from careful grooming in her upbringing that she could do anything, be anything, have anything.

Her “Everything” crashes spectacularly in a tale of disappointment, unexpected alterations to her “plan,” and inconsolable grief in a primary incident that shakes her core and leaves her emotionally and physically decimated.

Looking for recourse and correction, if even possible, is not an easy feat when life is messy and unpredictable and certainly not controllable.

"I thought I had harnessed the power of my own strength and greed and love in a life that could contain it." Ariel Levy

From early years in Larchmont, NY to career beginnings at New York Magazine in Manhattan to the heady journalistic successes with The New Yorker garnered from around the world, Ariel has earned her place in life and work. Always on her terms and achieved through gusto and determination, she demands the wind at her back.

As her personal saga unfolds, the carefully crafted existence begins to crack and what resonates is the difficult realization that perhaps it is not possible for her generation to have it all—that there is a border around achievements and not every border can be crossed.

Gripping and completely absorbing, the book is difficult to put down. Ariel keeps you in a certain suspense as she spools out her tale. The book gently becomes a thoughtful rumination about current culture and a cautionary tale expressing that, while much has changed for a younger generation with many more options available, it may not necessarily be for the better.

The Rules Do Not Apply is a must read and will leave you with a new perspective on the notion of “having it all.” You may find you want far less by the end.