The memoir Everything I Know About Love, written by award-winning journalist and Sunday Times columnist Dolly Alderton, is a quirky, captivating and remarkably relatable tale of growing up in today’s digital jungle.
The novel has short chapters which are simply written and easy to follow, thus ideal for the modern-day weekly commuter or student to dip into whenever possible. The book begins with Alderton’s naïve view on love as a teenager, believing that having a boyfriend would solve all her problems. The novel takes Alderton through her many romantic liaisons, with her escapades into some dating apps, portraying a more realistic representation of modern relationships avoiding the classical romantic novel’s trope of true love at first sight.
At the end of the book, Alderton realises that “it is no person’s job to be the one sole provider of your happiness,” and one has to understand how to love themselves before trying to love someone else. This new outlook on life is summarised in the chapter ‘Enough,’ where Alderton explains how instead of constantly trying to get strangers’ attention on the tube or at parties to spot a potential date, she enjoyed time with friends and created her own happiness, to create the best version of herself for when she did eventually meet someone.
In the 21st century, there is persistent pressure to be in a relationship as the majority of individuals advertise an unrealistic representation of their life on social media, only capturing the carefree moments, therefore relationship jealousy is often unavoidable. Alderton highlights the pressure for adults in their late 20s and above in her podcast with Pandora Sykes, The High Low. Alderton states that once she started becoming happy to be single, people thought she was being cynical and resistant to ever falling in love with someone. Alderton’s refreshing outlook on single life creates new freedom to become more independent and create your own happiness and create more time for friends, without any restrictions.
The novel not only concentrates on Alderton’s feelings and views on romantic relationships but also her relationship with her body image as well as tales of friendship and dealing with grief. Alderton touches on body positivity as she explains how she struggled with her curvy figure throughout her life, which again, in the current climate of inescapable social media and photo editing apps, is most relevant and relatable to many women worldwide.
Alderton has recently started another podcast called Love Stories, analysing both the uplifting and damaging aspects during relationships, with guests such as actress and comedian, Jessie Cave. Alderton is commencing a spoken-word and Q&A tour around the UK on her book with a new chapter, everything she knows about love at thirty, which is coming to Edinburgh on Saturday 23 February at The Queen’s Hall.
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Penguin Fig Tree (2018)
Image: Victor U via Flickr