Dolly Alderton has done it again!
Let me tell you – I cannot wait, which is probably a spoiler for my thoughts on the novel…
I’m very late to the bandwagon on this one, as it has received rave reviews after making it onto the Sunday Times bestseller list, of which she is also a columnist, which inspired her book. It is a collection of her experiences with parties, dates, friends, jobs, life and love. Reading this just made me crave the London life and experiencing the highs and lows of living with friends, meeting new people, randoms and making unique experiences of my own – but there’s still time for that, right? Never say never. I’m just put off by the price, ugh.
Anyhow, Alderton’s novel was a hoot, very much like her as I have heard through podcasts and her column. She covers everything from her days as a kid and reminding me of things I forgot were the main constructs of my childhood; I am talking about MSN Messenger of course. She details her friendships too which I am sure very few of us have managed to maintain perfectly, as she has remained friends with her best friend Farly since 13, through to 31. There are observations of learning what it’s like to see a friend go through ups and downs of love too, as well as possessing a unique, precious, pure bond with a best friend: a different kind of love.
I can only compare this to Elizabeth Day’s memoir, How to Fail, which I recently consumed, although Alderton was published before and was in fact proof-read by Day. There are similarities of dating in your twenties, finding and losing friends, trying to be someone you are not, watching friends fall in (and out of) love, heartbreaks, happiness and beyond.
I found it very admirable how Alderton addressed her issues with mental health, crippling anxiety, therapy and alcoholism. Whilst she doesn’t quite ‘label’ it as such, she links it to her party animal days and portraying that she is someone she is not, or feels that she has to be – sometimes starting her drink and coke fest at 4pm and finishing at 4am, unsurprisingly continuing after as it was embedded as part of her party antics.
At times, I winced in displeasure and unease as she outlined some of her vulnerable moments when drunk and forking out hundreds of pounds of taxi fares, just to get to an afterparty i.e. Oxford Circus to Leamington Spa at 4am because she thought she was in Oxford… This is only one of the multiple accounts that she can remember.
It was a very thought-provoking, raw novel which did not fail to bore me. I think it speaks for itself that I finished it in less than 48 hours and was again annoyed at myself for finishing it so quickly. I will now of course research all I can about her and read all of her columns where I can dating back to the beginning of time.
Alderton details her learnings of all the above so you don’t have to. From boarding school through to Exeter uni (notoriously known for its HARD drinking culture – there is no other way to describe it) and navigating through jobs and making rent, she highlights how everyone is just trying to make their way in life and enjoy it: there is no right way of doing it.
Just make sure you live it, enjoy it and most importantly, do it for you.
Beyond the wittiness and LOL moments, there were some heart-warming lines that caught me right until the end (on the last page!) which I believe highlight the true meaning of LOVE:
When you’re looking for love and it seems like you might not ever find it, remember you probably have access to an abundance of it already, just not the romantic kind. This kind of love might not kiss you in the rain or propose marriage. But it will listen to you, inspire and restore you…
You have so much to gain and learn from this kind of love. You can carry it with you for ever. Keep it as close to you as you can.
Rating – 5/5 AND BEYOND! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre – Non-fiction, comedy