This book is hard to like. And just what real-life character in this memoir can we love––or even like very much, let along want to know more about? I didn’t find one. Lack of caring, distraction, destruction, seem to sweat from the pores of this book. Infidelity, alcoholism, ambivalence and estrangement abound, not to mention dishonesty. Did a thirty-eight year old journalist really think she would get everything she wanted out of life. Is she just now finding out that isn’t going to happen? What planet has she been living on? What plants has she been cultivating?
According to reviewer Leslie Jamison, a stranger asked Ariel the following: “:Are you the Ariel who all the bad things happened to?” This reader would ask her: “Why did you do so many bad things to so many people?” Levy’s surface view of life is exemplified in a phase from her book, “somehow things got better.” Apparently she seldom stops to look at her own behavior or to search beneath the rocks for understanding.
She writes many words. But, what do they say other than mean things? Finally near the end of the book, I cannot read anymore of her words, and I close the book for good. The promise of something creative, something surprising, something outside the box, has evaporated, worse, for this reader, apparently it never existed.
Surviving loss is difficult. At best such survival is imperfect as I read in Jamison’s review. This reader simply could not connect with Levy’s emotion, her loss or her life. I wonder if some readers will be able to be more understanding.