I am not sure that having a story to tell is enough. This is a strange book, and my take on it is decidedly cynical. This is a long article that has been artificially extended to a book, and the same issues that would be true about the shorter article is true about the book, but it’s more watered down now, and more additionally fluffed out.
There is no narrative through-line that makes a lot of sense, and if you are a writer and in your own memoir you discuss people who have objectively suffered more than you, you probably shouldn’t borrow sympathy from their stories to allow your story to provide more substantive things to say.
Ariel Levy is a rich White woman who learns through hardship but no oppression or mistreatment (or at least none beyond having an alcoholic partner who lies to her about her alcoholism — though there’s not enough understanding that Levy’s own behavior –serial cheating– may have contributed to that abuse). Anyway! She does suffer real pain, and that pain is definitely awful. And her writing is perfectly good. But there’s nothing here that provides much depth or understanding or even a cohesive narrative around that pain. She’s a journalist used to reporting on others, but when tasked with telling her own story, she delivers a book in which nothing much is told. I feel like as a journalist she should have recognized there’s no book here.
None of which has much to do with how privileged and oblivious this book comes across.