Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC. Published 1st February 2018.
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Opening sentence: “Everything I Knew About Love as a Teenager. Romantic love is the most important and exciting thing in the entire world.”
Raw, truthful and – crucially – completely effortless to read, journalist and podcaster Dolly Alderton‘s memoir is an eloquent, witty, insightful book that just feels like you’re talking to a friend. Personally, I could relate to so much of what Dolly was saying, so I looked forward to dipping into it every time I had a spare minute.
This memoir sees Dolly delve into her mind-set towards love at different stages in her life. She recounts stories from her teenage years (hello, MSN Messenger) and through her twenties, including drunken university exploits that resulted in life-long friendships with wonderful women, fixating on the wrong men and fixating on alcohol to keep up her reputation as the ultimate party girl. She also discusses her quest to work out who exactly she is and her struggles with an eating disorder and anxiety (even these serious issues are so eloquently expressed, ‘this overwhelming anxiety had been in the post for a while and it had finally arrived.’) I especially enjoyed how she described her enduring love for her female friends and how these friendships developed through the years and shaped her adult life, ‘little did I know how much work it takes to sustain that kind of intimacy with a friend as you get older – it doesn’t just stick around coincidentally.’
She also peppers her memoir with recipes (this might seem random but makes sense within the context of the book!), anecdotes of bad dates, hilarious letters about the life events that all women seem to find themselves invited to and (whether they want to or not) partaking in (e.g. extortionate hen-dos, ridiculous baby showers and the ever more elaborate weddings), lists of what she has learnt at each stage in her life, including random facts that had me thinking, ‘yes, that’s exactly what I would consider a crucial life lesson.’ Example: ‘If you press shift and F3, it makes something either all capitals or all lowercase.’ I CANNOT tell you how happy I was when I also discovered this.
Overall, this is an enlightening, heart-warming book that made me feel great after reading due to its wonderful celebration of one of the most important types of love – female friendships. So many of my friends flitted through my mind while reading, and I’ll definitely be recommending this to them. Dolly’s writing is the perfect blend of caring sarcasm, if that isn’t too much of an oxymoron! I laughed, I cried, I was happy when she made her breakthroughs and could relate to her take on certain situations. Hopefully, this is the first of many memoirs as I immensely enjoyed Dolly’s company. In short: I loved this book.