Ariel Levy grew up watching her mother come alive for a man besides her husband, and then watching that relationship stall out after her parents’ marriage ended. It was only after the end of these two relationships that her mother—eventually—found herself. Ariel decides she will love whomever she wants—and proceeds to do that, disregarding the fact that the other woman is already in a relationship when they meet.
A few years later, Ariel is pregnant, married, and secure in her own life when she heads to Mongolia to cover a story. When she returns, she is none of those things. Reeling from her loss, she discovers her partner’s alcoholism, which is too much for her to deal with. So, Ariel must decide—once again—what she wants, so she can go after it.
The writing in The Rules Do Not Apply is solid and evocative, but the author seems to be keenly analytical of other people’s flaws…and not her own. She went through a horrifying experience, one no woman should ever have to experience, and dealing with that grief is the most honest part of this book. The rest of the novel seems more about blame and veiled criticism of others, along with some scathingly accurate cultural analysis.
(Novel provided by Random House via NetGalley.)