Holds are growing for Ariel Levy’s attention-getting memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply (PRH/Random; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).
Levy, a staff writer at the New Yorker, is getting attention from a wide range of media. The NYT highlights the author in a lengthy feature story detailing Levy’s take on what the paper calls her “karmic smackdown” of how she went from pregnant and married to a woman grieving the loss of her baby and watching her marriage dissolve:
“Ms. Levy wanted to interrogate her own responsibility for such a sequence of grim events … That is the intellectual backbone [of the memoir, one that examines the] hoary conceit, the one about women and ‘having it all’ … A thoroughly modern memoir, the elements … seem plucked not from the script of Girls, which has also been exploring reproductive issues of late, but Transparent — even Portlandia.”
Blurbed by some big names, including Lena Dunham, Cheryl Strayed, David Sedaris, Amy Bloom, and Alison Bechtel, it is reviewed by a range of outlets including Bustle, Entertainment Weekly, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Mother Jones, O magazine, and Time. Levy was also interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.
The Atlantic says it is a “one-of-a-kind memoir” and that “Levy has the rare gift of seeing herself with fierce, unforgiving clarity. And she deploys prose to match, raw and agile. She plumbs the commotion deep within and takes the measure of her have-it-all generation.”
It is also stirring controversy. The New Republic calls it “Infuriating … a monument to obliviousness” and says it “buys into the myth that feminism promises each woman that she can have whatever she wants … It’s unlikely many Black women or Arab women or undocumented women would presume a similar degree of permission and mobility, regardless of their exposure to Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan.”
It is climbing the Amazon rankings, currently at #136, and a few systems we checked are showing holds above 6:1.