Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Do we subscribe to unnecessary rules?

I got chills and think I may have actually cried when I read Ariel Levy's short story "Thanksgiving in Mongolia" in The New Yorker. The story, honestly and painfully, recounts her losing a baby 19 weeks into a pregnancy while in Mongolia on assignment.

If you're not familiar with this story or her memoir The Rules Do Not Apply, I wonder if you might be making assumptions of how the miscarriage may have affected her.

The depth of what Levy experienced brought into question her search for meaning, her intellectualism and her entire existence, ultimately. She's unique, an unabashed individual, and the title The Rules Do Not Apply fits her life before and after the miscarriage.

Levy married her girlfriend, Lucy, and did not live a mainstream middle-America lifestyle. After losing the baby, her world unraveled as she also lost her spouse, her house and was disoriented and depressed.
Truth be told, this is a difficult write-up for two reasons. No. 1: It is such an unconventional, moving story. It's certainly an anti-cliche memoir. But No. 2: I found "Thanksgiving in Mongolia" absolutely a masterpiece and the book simply "good."

I still am recommending it. But perhaps part of my reservations is that I am not a huge fan of the memoir genre. I like twists on memoirs or partial memoirs, but full-on memoir is tough for me. The writing has to be absolutely superb for me to dig it.

So I guess I'm giving Levy a huge compliment that her memoir made my list, even though I hardly read memoirs. This one deserves recognition and to be read.

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