The Rules Do Not Apply

Ariel Levy’s memoir started out strong but quickly went down the toilet. She sets up the scene well, we’re primed to hear a tale of disaster when we learn that she lost her baby, her spouse, and her house. But she digresses and then puts us on a cliffhanger that honestly makes no sense. On a writing assignment in South Africa, she spends a weekend in a national park. “On the day that I first saw a pride of lions flopping on their backs in the dry yellow grass and licking each other… I made the mistake that would lead to my first real regret… On that morning, I made the first of many mistakes that would stack up on top of one another until they blocked out the sun.” And? What was that mistake? We never find out. My mistake was in reading this all the way through, wondering if she’d ever veer back on track.

She leaves her alcoholic wife when she’s in rehab, has her baby early in Mongolia where it dies, and has to sell their Shelter Island house to pay for Lucy’s rehab. Then she hints at a future happy ending with the doctor who treated her after the early birth, Dr. John. It’s all a big shrug to me, if offered to take it or leave it I would recommend not even touching it.