The Rules Do Not Apply

A Memoir
Narrated by: Ariel Levy
Length: 4 hrs and 53 mins
4 out of 5 stars (729 ratings)

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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

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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.

6 people found this 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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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Like a mirror

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

2 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • V
  • 07-18-17

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.

2 people found this 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.

2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

I love listening to Ariel Levy tell her own story in her own words. I'd recommend this book to anyone who's curious about the world. how to live life on their own terms

1 person found this 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.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent and resonant memoir

I just finished this and want to listen again--or buy the physical book and read so I can make notes as I go. This story will not resonate with every reader, but if you are someone whose life experience has some relevance to Levy's, then it will serve you to listen. I'm so grateful this story was told.