“Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learnt from my long-term friendships with women.”
Dolly Alderton is a journalist and writer who published her debut novel, Everything I Know About Love, in 2018.
Dolly begins her memoir with a flashback to MSN, and suddenly it feels like I am reading my own diary. She talks about how much time she spent trying to grab the attention of a boy she liked over MSN by signing in and signing out again (so your name would pop onto his screen, telling him you’re online), and I could imagine every single person reading that line exclaiming, “I did this!”
Despite this initial nostalgic element, it took a while for the book to grow on me. The binge drinking and drug romanticism doesn’t seem to fade until well over halfway through the book, which was frustrating because of how repetitive it was. Finally, in a recount of an intense therapy session, I could feel myself easing into the book. About time, since I was about two hundred pages in. Dolly emphasises the importance of friendship, and how her definitions of love stem from everyone close to her – this resonated with me most of all. She also emphasises the importance of asking for help when you need it the most, whether that’s professional help or calling a friend at two am, asking for them to listen to you for a little bit whilst you’re wine drunk and sad. Both are okay, she says, but learn which one you need and when you need it. Her friendship with Farley in particular is precious and brought me close to tears at several points.
Despite the repetitive nature towards the beginning, and the countless, mundane recipe lists scattered throughout, I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. An easy-going read, it felt as though Dolly was right there beside me, telling me one long anecdote. You might cry reading this (I almost did), but you’ll definitely laugh at all the right moments (I definitely did).