Everything I know about Love: A memoir by Dolly Alderton review
I was gifted this book by a good friend of mine, after I’d heard lots of people talking about how it changed their lives and she knew I was in much need of something to help me make sense of wtf was going on in my life (something I regularly turn to books for.)
For those that don’t know, Dolly Alderton is a journalist and for a few years wrote a dating column for The Sunday Times Style, so a British Carrie Bradshaw, if you will. Her memoir is about becoming a grown up and navigating all the kinds of love you’ll come across from boyfriends to best friends.
I’ll admit, I was slightly sceptical at first. I’ve listened to a few episodes of Dolly’s podcasts, the High Low which she co-presents with Pandora Sykes, and I found a lot of it quite pretentious and from one point of view- privileged white women. When I opened to the first page and I read that she’d described her art teacher as wearing ‘ethnic’ jewellery I was like ‘oh shit I know where this book is going.’
But I was actually surprised by it. The best thing about this book is that Dolly is honest and willing to reveal even her most jealous or unpleasant thoughts on the situations around her, including hating her best friends boyfriends. Her honesty is so refreshing, especially in a time where everyone is trying to present themselves in a certain way, thanks to our online personas. Throughout the book she makes mistakes and says the wrong things, but it just goes to prove that on the inside life is a bit more complicated than it looks.
As we all know, on instagram it looks like everyone has their life figured out and obviously that’s not true because we all know that behind every 5 year anniversary post is the 4 times they’ve broken up in between, and behind the pic of your mate living her best life on the beach is the breakdown she had to you last week about how she was finding everything a bit hard. But, it doesn’t stop us believing that everyone is doing is better than us. This is where Dolly’s book is reassuring. The book is like having the knowledge of the reality behind those insta posts, a look on the inside to life as a millennial woman.
One of my favourite bits about this book is how she reveals what she knows about love at different stages of her life and how it evolves. She recounts her teenage MSN flirtations, which are hilariously accurate, to feeling like she’s being left behind when her best friend gets engaged aged 25. Her brutal honesty draws you in and is ultimately comforting- if you’ve ever felt it, chances are Dolly has a story behind when it happened to her.
And although, Dolly and I (and probably you reading this) are very different people, the way she is able to articulate these all too relatable moments of her life, leave you with a sense of hope. No, not everyone is killing it, despite what it may look like from the outside and that’s ok! It’ll make for a much better memoir when you go to write yours!
Read this if: You’re heartbroken, you want to read something funny, you need a reminder that you’re actually coping with life really well.
Favourite bit: That it’s ultimately a celebration of the types of love that don’t usually get enough attention, despite the fact that they’re the ones you rely on A LOT, especially female friendships.
Any parts I didn’t like? I didn’t love the email ‘interludes.’
Stars out of 5: 4 stars