I read a paperback version of Everything I Know About Love.
Genre: Nonfiction, memoir
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Originally published: February 1st, 2018
Pages: 336 (paperback)
Audiobook length: 8 Hours 33 Minutes
Blurb by the publisher:
A spot-on, wildly funny and sometimes heart-breaking book about growing up, growing older and navigating all kinds of love along the way
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 recognizing that you and you alone are enough.
Glittering, with wit and insight, heart and humor, 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.
I walked into Waterstone’s at Trafalgar Square, just wanting to browse (as if book lovers ever JUST browse) through the books, and while I was making my way through book heaven, a table with yellow covers and red sprayed edges was screaming for my attention. And that’s how I got to know Dolly Alderton. I got to know her even more through this hilarious, sometimes sad, somewhat disturbing, but also heartwarming story of how she learned what she now knows of love.
I started reading this book in a top third bunk in a London hostel, while feeling in a place in my own life where I’m not even sure what I think I know about love anymore, and I fell into this book like Alice into Wonderland, finding the world of dating to be just as a peculiar and weird place for Dolly as it has been for me. Well, maybe a bit more extreme and weird for her, but still.
There was a lot throughout this story of her way into adulthood that I could relate to emotionally, although a lot of the experiences in itself was quite different.
I think we all struggle to come to terms with love and what exactly it is that it means to us, because of reasons that have to do with the weirdness of modern dating, but also our own demons (don’t tell me you don’t have any, because I won’t believe you).
I laughed and cried throughout this, and there were moments where I found myself rooting for Dolly as if I was reading something that was happening in that precise moment, and then having to remind myself that the happenings that were unfolding on the pages had already happened a good while ago, and so much more after that.
The most heartfelt and wonderful thing about this book to me was not the hysterical and absurd dates and episodes of casual hookups, it was how Dolly told the story of her friendships, and especially the one she has to her best friend Farley. I miss that in “love stories”, both non-fiction and fiction, hearing about the importance, the wonder and the purest love of all, the one that can only be found in those kinds of friendships. It’s so beautiful to read about, and it’s so special to find how much she, and so many of us, learn more about true love through our friendships than we do through dating. It is easily overlooked because it comes so natural to us, and we love them so much that having to work for it is not something that feels like a struggle. It’s something that you want to do, out of love.
I’m rambling now, so let’s get back to the book.
There were passages in the book, like the recipes for foods, that I found myself almost skipping through just because I wanted to know more about what would actually happen next. To me, those parts just weren’t that interesting, but I could still appreciate the way Alderton created something a bit more original by adding them.
I hadn’t heard about Dolly Alderton before our destined “meeting” in a random Waterstone’s, but somehow it feels like I’ve gotten a new girlfriend into my life, even though we’ve never actually met.
It’s just wonderful to see someone daring to be this honest and vulnerable when sharing their own experiences. It makes me as a reader feel like I know that writer. Like we’ve had a grown-up slumber party and in the middle of all the cakes and prosecco, she suddenly said:
Let me tell you a funny story!
And then me sitting there with a bucket of ice cream, and every time she finished a story I would ask her for another one. And what a sleepover it turned out to be!
I highly recommend All I Know About Love if you enjoy nonfiction/coming of age reading with a little bit of a twist!
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