Book Review: The Rules Do Not Apply, by Ariel Levy




People have been telling me since I was a little girl that I was too fervent, too forceful, too much. 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.


I try really hard not to get sucked into 'fads' and 'of the moment' things in all areas of my life, books included. I've always measured up whether my desire to read/wear/participate in something is matched more with 'me' or the barrage of ads/posts/promotion I'm receiving in my social media feeds telling me I should read/wear/participate in said thing.


This book has featured prominently in my social media feeds. I hadn't heard of the author before and I will admit I was more than a little sceptical about adding this one to my collection. But a small part of me also wanted to join the tribes of women singing the praises of said book. So I bought it.


And I recommend every female out there do the same. Gosh, not even female - every human - should read this book.


There were a couple of parts that had me shaking my head (they felt little too much like justification rather than story-telling) but what Levy has successfully done is written a book about being human. About being self-righteous, selfish and flawed. About growth, love, grief, and wrong doing. It's a book about the slights we make against ourselves and the ones we love. It holds a mirror up to everything she 'should' have done but didn't and offers only what she did do. Because she is human and those were the things she could do. She tells her story no matter how messy it was.


Levy doesn't suggest answers, or a call to action for the messy moments of our lives. She doesn't tell a story of redemption or how she survived, only that she did. She tells her story, as it happened to her. There's no offer of a happy ending, but neither does she offer us more chaos. She just leaves us with the assumption that, as most of us have a tendency to forget, life does go on.


We find our capacity for strength not during the moments that challenge us, but later. Afterwards. We only realise what we went through in the recovery of it, and most of all, we realise that we survived. The Rules Do Not Apply is a testament of a story to this human capacity.


I will more than happily lend you this book, but only on the promise that you devour it in a day and then sit and join me in exclaiming what a beautiful and human piece of writing it is over a good coffee.


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Copyright © 2020 Elaine Mead | Coffee&Books

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