book review: the rules do not apply

📖 4/30

⏲ Read time: 5-7 minutes

“I wanted what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can’t have it all.”

In Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply, she takes you through one of the most trying times of her life: 2012. While heading for a reporting assignment in Mongolia, she boards the plane with her life seemingly in-line: a wonderful marriage, a successful job and a baby growing in her belly. When she came back to the States, none of that was true.

She also hits on some other topics that are considered taboo by women standards: the idea of monogamy (and how it doesn’t exist anymore), walking away from toxic relationships and miscarriages. The pain she experienced with her miscarriage was heart-wrenching because it’s something that is considered sin. Women don’t talk about it, so we’re left in the dark when it does happen.

I picked up TRDNA after seeing it recommended by theSkimm. It’s important to note that this story is driven with the feministic mentality. Now, I’m someone who doesn’t consider themselves a feminist, simply because I believe you earn what you put in.

I appreciated that Levy has a vastly similar mind set to my own ideologies about feminism and how we have completely overhauled the rules from the generations before us. The rules that were one in placed simply don’t apply in today’s world, thanks to a lot of social breakthroughs. We are free to do whatever we want. The world is our oyster!

A particular quote that stuck out with me was “nothing really bad could happen to me in my movie, because I was the protagonist.”

However, life doesn’t normally work in alignment to our goals and plans. We’re thrown curveballs, challenges and hurdles to overcome. We envision that nothing bad ever happens to us because we’re the stars of our own show.

Personally, this really resonated with me. In 2013, I was at the peak of my life: I moved away to Boston to my dream school, I was living with a group of girls that I could have envisioned as family someday, I was talking to a boy who I thought could have potentially been “the one” and I was finally happy in my own skin. Everything was going perfect.

Until, school didn’t work out and everything I knew was completely turned around. I didn’t think it could happen to me because I was the star of my own show. It was my life, nothing bad was suppose to happen.

After Levy suffers her miscarriage, she discusses how she becomes close to the doctor in Mongolia, who happened to be from South Africa (a place that was close to her heart after taking on a major assignment). When she’s ready to board the flight, she has a moment of panic, second-guessing herself on if it’d be worth it.

She writes “In writing you can always change the ending or delete a chapter that isn’t working. Life is uncooperative, impartial, incontestable.”

This book was a breeze to read through, with some glimmers of humor in a relatively dark topic. I loved Levy’s writing style, because I felt it was similar to my own and I have a new found respect for her.

Rating: 3 out of 5

About sarah

25. writer. obsessed with makeup, french bulldogs, nyr and sparkle.
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