The Cost of Living

To strip the wallpaper off the fairy tale of The Family House in which the comfort and happiness of men and children have been the priority is to find behind it an unthanked, unloved, neglected, exhausted woman. It requires skill, time, dedication and empathy to create a home that everyone enjoys and that functions well. Above all else, it is an act of immense generosity to be the architect of everyone else’s well-being.

~ Deborah Levy, The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography (July 2018)

Book Review of Deborah Levy’s “The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography by Lauren Oyler can be found at The New Republic (July 26, 2018) titled: How to Live and Write Alone. An excerpt from the book review: “Aphorisms that would usually be heavy-handed (“If we cannot at least imagine we are free, we are living a life that is wrong for us”) also breeze past; only later do you realize you’ve been self-helped.”

Here’s another from Levy’s book: “It begins with knowing and not knowing, a glass of milk, rain, a reproach, a door slammed shut, a mother’s sharp tongue, a snail, a wish, bitten fingernails, an open window. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is unbearable. What was ‘it’? I don’t know.

Highly Recommended.


  1. Well now… I clicked on the link to Oyler’s review… fascinating in itself and now am intrigued to read Levy’s book…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yes, this does draw one in, it sounds like a powerful read –

    Liked by 2 people

  3. AMEN to that!
    (I don’t even want to open that link because I just KNOW it would mean another book to buy sometimes….. – must first read the some 200+ I’ve bought and which are still on my ‘to do’ list – and then I’m getting blind, so maybe not so many more books….)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. roseanne333 says:

    So powerful, DK. I think of my mother (w/ 4 children) and mother-in-law (w/ 8 children) and all they did/endured/suffered/celebrated to create the homes they created for all of us. They were so under appreciated and respected. That probably only comes when we have our own home and family to create.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Deborah Levy, The Cost of Living: A Working Autobiography (July 2018) … very interesting!!


  6. Wow. Nail on the head with your selected paragraph. I love this.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So far, Lauren Oyler has commanded my attention… Like Kiki, my eyes… And, I can’t stop reading! At present my “great books-ideas discussion group” is reading Orwell essays–I recommend…amazing. Levy, someday…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Just purchased it…

    Between the ages of 10 and 18 my answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up?” was,
    “A man, to show men how they ought to be!”

    The saddest thing in the universe is a household with a wife/mother/Lady of the house that feels unthanked, unloved, neglected, and exhausted. That makes for a household tinted with lifelessness.

    It takes keen attention to detail, eyes in the backs of our heads, sharp intuition, listening to our guts and trusting everyone else’s. Women are not only the architects, an architect only designs, women design and build, and repair, and tear down, and rebuild, and maintain, and renovate, and still look great doing it.

    Only the strongest and most intelligent of men know to sit back and watch.

    I’m 45, divorced once. And many years ago I realised I don’t want to be a man. I will always be a woman. I get more done this way. And I can still show men how they ought to be!

    I’m a working woman who enjoys work tremendously and do not encourage women to stay home.
    But, I’ll tell you all a secret,
    My ultimate pleasures and joys in life are cooking and creating a home for my family. To be chosen to be a woman at creation is a blessing.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. YES!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alan Malizia says:

    One of the roles of women most marginalized, yet of most importance, is motherhood. Modernity has seen to that. The strength and order of a nation depends on the strength and stability of the nuclear family. A fragmented nation in turmoil is preceded by the disintegration of the family; where father is the head of the family and mother is its heart. The benefits are realized in the children thereof who likely will become positive contributors to a balanced productive and secure society.


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