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Publisher's Summary

A gorgeous, darkly humorous memoir for listeners of Cheryl Strayed about a woman overcoming dramatic loss and finding reinvention, based on this award-winning writer's New Yorker article "Thanksgiving in Mongolia".

©2017 Ariel Levy (P)2017 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Empathy

If you don't already understand it, Ariel Levy will teach you the difference between empathy and sympathy. At first, you feel bad for her, and then you join her in her emotion and realize that is what she wants you to do. She wants you to share her journey and her growth, the happy, sad, and the process of hitting rock bottom and truly feeling the pain but slowly recognizing the power within you to continue. Don't feel bad for her, empathize! Also, she is narrating her own story which adds to the impact of the book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Selfishly Entitled

The author's voice was soothing. But the story! She wanted to do whatever the hell she wanted, and the rest of the world get over it because she admitted wrong doing. But she felt hopelessly betrayed if she was hurt by anyone. Extreme hypocrisy! I have a cheating problem so I'll just cheat no matter who I hurt until I can't deal with it anymore. But Lucy, if you have a drinking problem, it's yours alone because you lied to me, it's not my fault, I have no role in it, I don't feel like dealing with your recovery so I'm out. Just WOW! Brilliantly told though. Could have concluded with some what happened tos: mom, dad, Lucy, Emma, some friends, etc., but then again, like the author's life, it's all about her.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Woman Who Wears Hers Flaws On Her Sleeve

I LOVED listening to this book, and devoured it in just a few sittings. It's a very raw, personal, and confessional memoir by a woman who wears her considerable flaws on her sleeve — in other words, it's exactly my cup of tea. The author does her own performance on the audiobook, adding another layer of intimacy to her story.

Ariel Levy recounts her troubled marriage, her wife's alcoholism, her own cheating, and all the twists and turns leading up to her fertility treatments and subsequent miscarriage, all with such candor that it often sucked the breath right out of me. At one point she references Nora Ephron, who famously said that "Everything is copy," and indeed, Levy has mined her deepest mistakes and regrets for the sake of a story.

The Rules Do Not Apply is a fascinating exploration of modern marriage, makeshift families, infidelity, and what it feels like to be an ambitious, adventurous woman who also feels the tug of parenthood. She's frank about the scope of her grief after her miscarriage (which many people told her was disproportionate), what it's like to be partnered with an alcoholic, and her own compulsion to have an affair. Ultimately, it's about learning you can't really control anything and surrendering to that knowledge.

Some people like to read about heroes and role models, and that's fine, but this is probably not the book for them. For people who enjoy reading stories where people poke around at their darkest corners, this book will scratch that itch.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • PD
  • 09-13-17

shallow, uninteresting, waste of time

This book promised much but delivered little. kinda like reading the Cliff Notes. I don't know why she botheredb to share this... no substance or lasting meaning found here.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Like a mirror

Thank you ! I listened to your story but it felt like you're telling mine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I couldn't stop listening

This was a beautiful story, beautifully told. From start to finish I was hooked. Honest, raw and candid. Very good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Worth the credit.

I hadn't really known much about the author before listening to this book. I only stumbled across this book because I watched a video clip on the audible website of an interview with her, and it piqued my interest. I'm so glad I did. This book spoke to me on many levels, and I found her voice to be both refreshingly honest and relatable. Whether or not you agree with or even like any of what she says within these pages, it is admirable that through all of the heartache, pain, and ultimately growth Ariel finds a way to publicly purge all of this to be shared with us. Bravo.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Punch To Your Heart

Loved the honesty Loved the writing. Ms. Levy is a rare breed of brains, guts and big appetite for life. Love her game to explore personality wrapped in humility poured onto the page.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not a Greek Tragedy - Spoiler Warning

After finishing this book, I had to go back re-listen to the beginning. I was certain the writer had set up in the preface a much different tale. The beginning of the book suggests that the writer "loses" a baby, a house, and a spouse. In fact, she really only loses a baby and while her late miscarriage is tragic, there is a significant difference between losing a baby you've birthed and bonded with and losing a pregnancy at 19 weeks. The other things she doesn't lose at all. She chooses to leave her spouse and chooses to sell her second home.

While much of this story was interesting, I felt like the writer overplayed the level of "bad things" that happened to her. Near the end of the book she relates meeting a friend of a friend who says something like, "Are you the one all the bad things happen to?" Really? She makes it sound like she's walking under a black cloud of tragedy like her entire family died in some horrible accident. This is a person who has had incredible success in her profession and has the ability to travel the world. The worst thing that happened to her is that she lost a baby mid-pregnancy. Yes, tragic but not quite a tragic as it is played.

Overall, I had difficulty connecting to the writer. I didn't relate or feel empathy for her. It felt like she lived a life of privilege in a world that was distant from most women's realities.

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Extremely boring.

The reader is quite monotone. This was pretty much “white noise.” Try as I might, I just couldn’t get into it.