The preface of Ariel Levy’s memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply, is a knock-out. Though it’s the Cliffs Notes to her book/life, it’s written with such clarity that it transcends the searing pain and devastating loss that she’s about to chronicle: “I am thunderstruck by feeling at odd times, and then I find myself gripping the kitchen counter, a subway pole, a friend’s body, so I won’t fall over. I don’t mean that figuratively. My sorrow is so intense it often feels like it will flatten me.” With brawny and disarming candor, Levy weaves together the story of her life exactly as she was determined to live it – becoming a staff writer for the New Yorker, falling in love with her partner (“feeling molten and golden and saved”), writing their own vows (“gay marriage wasn’t even legal—we were making it up!”), becoming pregnant at 37 – and how it all came crashing down. Teeming with vitality and wit, The Rules Do Not Apply is a memoir sparkling with insight on grief and grit. --Al Woodworth
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