Ariel Levy has written an unflinchingly honest memoir about her life choices and their heartbreaking consequences.
Written in fast-paced, staccato form, the reader is thrown into Ariel’s world – a successful writing career with the New Yorker, a marriage, an affair and a pregnancy. The dire consequences of Ariel’s choices and her unforgiving accountability for them, give the memoir its gritty realism.
Ariel does not bend to societal norms (“rules”) that dictate how she should behave. But her high risk taking behavior, which she does not recognize as such, suggests that the flip side of such freedom is not so pretty. She marries a woman who she loves deeply, craving a stable, domestic life - but then chafes under the constraints and has an affair which unsettles her wife to the point of madness. When the relationship recovers, Ariel and her wife decide to have a child (via in vitro with a friend as the sperm donor). Happily pregnant, Ariel, still fiercely ambitious, flies to Mongolia to conduct research for an article she is writing. The resulting crisis is the crucial turning point of the book.
Is Ariel the hero in her own story? She allows herself no redemption, no glory in the path she has walked. But, for the reader, her accountability for her actions and her resilience in the face of crisis, may suggest otherwise.
Staff of Wellington Square Book Shop