Dolly Alderton: Everything I Know About Love
Published By: Fig Tree
Buy It: here
What They Say:
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. It’s a book about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough.
Glittering with wit and insight, heart and humour, Dolly Alderton’s powerful début weaves together personal stories, satirical observations, a series of lists, recipes, and other vignettes that will strike a chord of recognition with women of every age – while making you laugh until you fall over. Everything I know About Love is about the struggles of early adulthood in all its grubby, hopeful uncertainty.
What I Say:
“Because I am enough. My heart is enough.
The stories and the sentences twisting around my mind are enough.”
Let me say from the start, because I am always upfront about my reviews, that I don’t know why I chose to pick up this book other than I had heard lots about it on Twitter, and it was on the ‘New Books’ Shelf in my local library.
I didn’t think that I was in any way the target demographic. I am a 47 year old Mum of two, who has been married to the same man since 1996, and have been with Mr Reynolds since 1992. Even writing that down surprises me! Dolly is 29 and as she explains in her book, has not been in a relationship for longer than two years.
So, I thought, we have nothing in common. I was sure I would read a couple of pages and disregard it as another self-indulgent memoir that was only on my radar due to the power of social media.
If I tell you that I started this book at six thirty this morning, and finished it by midday, then you can probably guess that I completely misjudged everything about this book.
Dolly Alderton, if by any chance you ever read this blog post. I humbly apologise to you and have only one thing to say to you. Thank you – this book resonated with me on every level.
Everything I Know About Love is Dolly’s memoir, explaining what she has learned through her experiences and what knowledge from different points in her life she can share with us. What makes this book stand out, and I think relatable for every woman, is that this is not some gloating, Instaperfect look at a privileged life that we really couldn’t care about.
Dolly’s writing and her narrative tone reminded me very much of Jilly Cooper’s style, but this is meant as a huge compliment as I love the deftness of touch and humour that both women have in their writing. The addition of recipes and the asides such as the excruciating baby shower and hen do emails, serve to lift this book way above the usual memoirs with a horrifying realisation that we have all been party to something like this.
Dolly, and her wonderful friends that we meet – (I guarantee you will especially love Farly, Dolly’s best friend) are normal human beings. They make mistakes, they drink too much, they sometimes make bad life choices, worry about paying their bills and get themselves into situations that made me wince a few times, but ultimately they embrace life. Dolly and her friends love each other without question.
As many of us now realise, your family are not always those related to you by blood, they are the ones who are there to listen to your latest relationship disaster, to make sure you have food in your fridge, to be there when life seems to be overwhelming and to sometimes say nothing at all.
Dolly is unflinchingly honest in her memoir. No topic is off-limits, she is brutally frank as she tells us of her love of alcohol, her online dating disasters and her route to therapy as she struggled to find her way in today’s increasingly pressured society. Make no mistake, she is not looking for our pity or attention, instead she is saying to us, it is ok for us not to be perfect. Just because someone might seem to have it all, and appear to be leading the life we wished we had, it doesn’t mean they are any happier than we are.
Everything I Know About Love is the book I wish I had when I was in my twenties. I too tried to navigate my way through the complexities of being a young woman, but my time was in the early nineties. I had done the expected thing of A levels and then Leeds University, but nothing prepared me for real life afterwards.
I realised then, and more so now that like Dolly, my friends were truly everything, and together we believed we were invincible and would have done anything for each other. Dolly’s book is a love letter to female friendship, to understanding that you may be in and out of each other’s lives as time goes on, but that you will always be bound by the love, laughter and tears you have shared.
Everything I Know About Love is a beautifully written, razor-sharp and stunning memoir. I will be pressing a copy in to my nieces’ hands as soon as they are old enough, and will tell them that they should appreciate the women around them, relish the friendships that will endure, and know that they are always enough.
I loved it.