My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There is no doubt in my mind that Ariel Levy is an excellent writer, I just found too many of these essays disconnected and unfocused. While I could appreciate the way she told some specific stories from her lifetime, there wasn't anything else that I could appreciate.
Everything else is DRIPPING with entitlement and privilege. As a 30 something year old rich white women who is living in NYC, she lives the type of life where she actually believes that she can control everything. There is lots of self-pity and bad decision making filled throughout this book, and I couldn't believe some of the things that I was reading:
"We [Ms. Levy and her female friends] lived in a world where we had control of so much. If we didn't want to carry groceries up the steps, we ordered them online and waited in our sweatpants on the fourth floor for a man from Asia or Latin America to come panting up, encumbered with our cat litter and organic bananas. [...] Anything seemed possible if you had ingenuity, money, and tenacity." (page 10)
One specific thing that bothered me in this passage was when she said "waited...for a man from Asia or Latin America to come to pant up." Gee, Levy thanks for pointing out one thing about all food delivery people that are "apparently" one of those ethnicities-(this also implies that they're all service jobs people) There is such white privilege showing here, that at some parts I actually couldn't stand it.
"I wanted what she [my mother] had wanted, what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills." (page 90)
If you didn't know, I'm asexual and aromantic and there is very blatant aro/acemisia in the text there I was just straight out cringing at.I've never wanted a mate/lover, I've never wanted to be middle-aged mother, so making this sweeping generalization is simply inaccurate at the least, and infuriating at the most. Why does Levy assume that this is everyone's universal desires at the expense of erasure for other people who don't want these things?
She also has a very misguided definition of feminism, that isn't inter-sectional at the very least but that she twists to serve her own points and purposes. At some point I literally had to book this book away for my mental health because it was bothering and hurting me that much.
In my opinion, the strongest chapters were those where she vividly describes her miscarriage in grotesque detail. They way that she knows how to write grief in such a blunt and honest way is truly astounding. However, lots of the other content, whether Levy realizes or not, she painted herself in a very bad light because of the things that she says or tries but fails to explain.
**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**
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