I read Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton on the second leg of my journey back to Sydney. The trip from one side of the world to the other is never a pleasant one, but the last minute nature of my flights meant that after an initial ten hour flight from London to LA, I had a seven hour stop-over, before boarding a fourteen-hour flight from LAX to Sydney. I will always opt for a book over a film, and so, despite the dazzling choice offered by the in-flight entertainment system and being somewhat delirious with fatigue, with a sizeable chunk of time ahead of me, I did what I do best, and read the whole way home.
I didn’t know a huge amount about Dolly Alderton prior to reading her memoir; I’d read her dating column in The Sunday Times Style magazine whenever I happened across a copy, but since moving to the land down under two-and-a-half years ago, I’ve fallen somewhat out of touch with the newspapers and magazines and feature journalists I’d once devoured of a lazy Sunday afternoon in bed. It was, however, almost impossible to ignore Alderton’s memoir while back in London – it seemed to be everywhere I turned – and on my penultimate day in the UK I bought myself a copy while perusing the shelves of Waterstones in Tottenham Court Road.
As soon as I began the book, I loved it: Alderton has a rare talent in that the way in which she writes makes the reader feel as though she’s talking to you and you alone. The memoir is full of endearing, relatable anecdotes: from a drunken journey down the M1 at 4am, to an after party with a man who knew her mum way back when. From finding her first post-university job, to the ups and downs of flat-sharing in the big city, to the horrible heartbreak of losing a loved one to cancer, Everything I Know About Love is as moving as it is funny. Her tales are flanked by beautiful prose and raw life experiences and the memoir is near impossible to finish without wanting more.
Perhaps my favourite part of the book – though there were many more besides – was the colourful cast of characters we meet throughout her tumultuous twenties. From the boys she loved, to those she didn’t, to the dodgy landlord and the taxi driver who recalled picking her up shoeless and drunk one night, each of them is perfectly portrayed within the pages of her book. The shining star is, of course, her dear best friend – and I defy anyone to read this book without wanting a Farley Kleiner of their very own.
A coming of age story of the very best sort, Alderton writes with wit and wonder about the events and the men and the friendships and the fall outs that have made up much of her life to date. An important lesson on the value of female friendships and a love letter to each of her favourite females, Everything I Know About Love is a glorious reminder of this one messy and precious life that each of us have to live.
Image: Ash Owens
About Everything I Know About Love
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 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.
About Dolly Alderton
Dolly Alderton is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications including the Sunday Times, the Daily Telegraph, GQ, Marie Claire, Red and Grazia. From 2015 – 2017 she was the Sunday Times Style‘s dating columnist. She is the co-host of The High Low Show, a weekly pop culture and current affairs podcast, and also writes and directs for television. Everything I Know About Love is her first book.
Love this post? Click here to subscribe.