Over the Thanksgiving holiday I read “The Rules Do Not Apply” by Ariel Levy. Let me clarify, I read this book in three hours. The whole book. I enjoyed it that much.
This memoir follows the young adult life of Levy as she transforms herself into a woman who does not conform to the expectations of young women including marriage and motherhood. She struggles with difficult people, difficult jobs, alcoholics, and pressures from family.
I am not the type of person to cry during movies, but I do cry as I read books. I cried while reading, “The Rules Do Not Apply”. No shame. I’m proud of those tears.
Favorite Character- Lucy, for all her flaws and her successes
Favorite Part- Can’t pick just one!!
Least Favorite Part- Roughly pages 82-90, when Levy cheats on Lucy
Major Themes- Family, love, motherhood, conformity/nonconformity
Levy is brutally honest about her life in this memoir. That’s the point of a memoir, right? I found it so honest that I would liken Levy to one of YA’s common ‘unlikeable female protags.’ Unlikeable? Yes, sort of!
She is honest about her infidelity, her inability to notice her partner’s alcoholism, and her own selfish want for children. Yet, I love her. She is flawed, but aren’t we all.
Not only the pull of the characters makes me love this book. Let’s talk about the writing: it’s phenomenal.
Levy understands exactly where to break her paragraphs and sections to keep us roped in. And, this structure clearly worked well on me since I read the book in three hours.
Levy also does a good job of contrasting herself with other characters in the piece. The negative comparisons and the positive ones. They teach us about her without directly ‘telling’ those details. It’s a preverted telling, almost showing, but through a skewed lens.
“The Rules Do Not Apply” is a must read for any female-power junkie. Not sold on the whole working-mom, lesbian, feminist, pants suit side of femininity? Levy will sell you. I wish I could meet her. I want to hear her tell these stories. She made me feel proud to be a woman and all that we are capable of.
Keep Reading Bookworms.
xx The Professional Bookworm