“Mesmerizing…A portrait of something familiar gone wildly, tragically awry” – The New York Times

“Exquisitely written” – The Sunday Times

“A powerful and frequently devastating account...
Leve’s recollections can be brutal but are made digestible by the elegant sparseness of her prose” – The Guardian

“In the captivating company of memoirists Mary Karr and Alexandra Fuller…” – ELLE Magazine

The staccato style of this searing memoir enhances the harshness and emotional power of what is a frightening story by a brave author, who resolutely describes herself as ‘a long-distance runner through the canyon of childhood’ — a modest understatement.  This is the story of an endangered childhood, tyrannized by an out-of-control and fear-inspiring mother. This book is an unstinting portrayal of psychological abuse, both insightful and precisely told.

— John Irving

Sometimes, a child is born to a parent who can't be a parent, and, like a seedling in the shade, has to grow toward a distant sun. Ariel Leve's spare and powerful memoir will remind us that family isn't everything

— Gloria Steinem

An Abbreviated Life adds a harrowing chapter to the great human tragi-comedy called "We Don't Get To Choose Our Parents." Ariel Leve's extremely readable memoir is, at its heart, a story about surviving childhood -- a trick we must all perform. As such, even in its raw extremes, her story is a universal one.

— Richard Ford

Out of a childhood that seems just about impossible to have survived, Ariel Leve has written a haunting, indelible story that becomes its own form of redemption.  This is an act of bravery that strikes me not only as a literary achievement, but a human one.

— Dani Shapiro

Ariel Discusses An Abbreviated Life

Press and Reviews

Review

“Mesmerizing…A portrait of something familiar gone wildly, tragically awry”

Review

When Ariel Leve was six years old, she and her mother would play a game called Being Born…

Interview

Ariel Leve: 'I was the parent and my mother was the child'. Interview by Jon Ronson.


Interview

NPR's Rachel Martin speaks to Ariel Leve about her new memoir, An Abbreviated Life.

Interview

Chaos, Privilege, and a Childhood on the Upper East Side

Review

Growing up with an unstable poet mother who partied with Warhol was a traumatic affair

Press

Read an extract from the book here:

Review

A whole new league of parental craziness is revealed in Leve’s account of the violent rages and mood swings of her crude, narcissistic, irresponsible mother.

Review

This is an emotionally draining book. But it is far smarter than just an ordinary misery memoir, says Rosamund Urwin

Radio

ABC - Australian Radio National - Late Night Live

Press

An Abbreviated Life selected for Amazon's Best Books of the Month for June in Biographies and Memoirs.

Press

An Abbreviated Life selected for the BBC's ‘Ten Books to Read in June’.

Press

Best nonfiction books 2016


Press

The Mother-Daughter Knot Returns to Memoirville—And That’s a Good Thing

Review

“Leve’s powerful story of surviving her brutal childhood demonstrates that contentment can be found.”

Press

An Abreviated Life featured in ‘Hot Contents’ in the July edition of Elle.


Press

An Abreviated Life featured in ‘What we're Reading’ in the June edition of Marie Claire.


Press

An Abbreviated Life featured in ‘Cosmo Reads’ in the June edition of Cosmopolitan.


Press

Vogue View August 2016


Press

An only child of divorced parents, Ariel Leve, 48, never wanted to be  a mother, and didn’t imagine a life  with children. Yet when it happened by chance, it transformed her.