We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
An Abbreviated Life Audiobook

An Abbreviated Life: A Memoir

Regular Price:$17.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

A beautiful, startling, and candid memoir about growing up without boundaries, in which Ariel Leve recalls with candor and sensitivity the turbulent time she endured as the only child of an unstable poet for a mother and a beloved but largely absent father, and explores the consequences of a psychologically harrowing childhood as she seeks refuge from the past and recovers what was lost.

Ariel Leve grew up in Manhattan with an eccentric mother she describes as "a poet, an artist, a self-appointed troublemaker and attention seeker". Leve learned to become her own parent, taking care of herself and her mother's needs. There would be uncontrolled, impulsive rages followed by denial, disavowed responsibility, and then extreme outpourings of affection. How does a child learn to feel safe in this topsy-turvy world of conditional love?

Leve captures the chaos and lasting impact of a child's life under siege and explores how the coping mechanisms she developed to survive later incapacitated her as an adult. There were material comforts but no emotional safety except for summer visits to her father's home in Southeast Asia - an escape that was terminated after he attempted to gain custody. Following the death of a loving caretaker, a succession of replacements raised Leve - relationships that resulted in intense attachment and loss. It was not until decades later, when Leve moved to the other side of the world, that she could begin to emancipate herself from the past. In a relationship with a man who had children, caring for them yielded clarity of what was missing.

In telling her haunting story, Leve seeks to understand the effects of chronic psychological maltreatment on a child's developing brain and to discover how to build a life for herself that she never dreamed possible: an unabbreviated life.

©2016 Ariel Leve (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (42 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (7)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
4.1 (39 )
5 star
 (20)
4 star
 (6)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.3 (39 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (7)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Will Smith Florida 06-18-16
    Will Smith Florida 06-18-16 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautifully written memoir"

    This is personal memoir at its best. The story is sad, tragic, funny, hopeful. The writing is excellent and the author clearly shows the emotional pain she has endured. It's not all maudlin. The author also paints a picture of healthy adults, and children, in her life. I loved the scenes of New York, the name-dropping, and her life overseas.

    Martha Plimpton's narration is wonderful and was a perfect choice. All the best to the author and her mother.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Eliza Sweeney 07-02-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's a pretty good book. Not the best not the worst."

    I love this type of book but the writer comes off a little spoiled. She DID have a terrible mom. And she was neglected by her mom but let's get real here. A lot of us have had it wayyyyy worse and didn't have the loving nanny or penthouse in NYC. I enjoyed listening to the stories but when she starts going to hospitals asking if she is brain damaged I couldn't help but feel annoyed.
    Over all it's worth a credit . The glass castle is a much better book about a messed up childhood. If you had one credit to use I would use it for the Glass castle. If you have read that then get this book bc it's good too. But it smacks of poor little rich girl.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • jackie
    Cyprus
    8/29/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Refreshingly different"

    Thoroughly enjoyed the story and the narration. Good, fast-paced, interesting. Loved the short chapters. Struck a lot of chords with me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Danielle
    7/24/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very much recommended"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of An Abbreviated Life?

    I have recommended this book to friends, I think that although it is extreme we can all learn something from it and understand ourselves as well as the people involved.


    What about Martha Plimpton’s performance did you like?

    She sounds a lot like Carrie Fisher, which is strange. But it suits the material of the book in a good way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.