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Book Review: everything I know about love

Books & Literature May 15, 2023

by Anna Goetzman

everything I know about love by Dolly Alderton is the memoir of a woman in her twenties and thirties, maneuvering through relationships—romantic and platonic— addictive behaviors, and her new life in London.

Throughout this memoir, Dolly Alderton recounts her experiences in her early twenties as a sort of bildungsroman. She ruminates on horrendous dates, weekend benders, failed relationships, and how friendship is ultimately the most important relationship in one’s life.

This memoir focuses strictly on the feeling of being lost as a twenty-something, new to a big city, and the discoveries you make as you non-linearly grow up. The way Alderton writes feels very intimate because she shares many personal anecdotes and traumas with her readers. A lot of these topics are relatable to females in their early twenties as they have to do with dating, anxiety and loss, eating disorders, and feeling alone in your surroundings. Alderton’s writing is very special in that her stories are raw and open, but also extremely witty and endearing. everything I know about love can at times almost feel like free therapy or a conversation you’d have over coffee. This book is rich with wisdom for any young woman and is definitely one to revisit at certain points in life as it is relatable on several planes.

What I really loved about this book is how Alderton describes her truest love, which is for her best friend Farley. We are too often pushed to believe the most important love in life must be romantic, so to have someone focus on love in friendship is refreshing—it definitely makes you want to call your best friend. Alderton describes the differences between her and Farley. Dolly is a bit of a mess, while Farley is put together. Dolly lives in a half-fantastical world, and Farley faces an often tragic reality. My one critique of this book is that some of Alderton’s anecdotes do often come across as privileged or entitled. She talks about growing up decently posh and upper middle class, passing uni with ease, being extremely extroverted, and being able to hold a successful job while simultaneously being high as a kite most of her twenties. For most people these circumstances are not relatable or even likable. Overall I highly recommend this memoir as it is riveting, engrossing, and offers a large amount of insight and advice.