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Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton Book Review

Reasons For Reading This Memoir:

Every month I read the chosen book for The Readheads podcast book club. The book chosen for September was Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. I was excited to read this book because I was seeing it being read and reviewed by other book bloggers who I follow. Every review I saw was raving. As someone who is in a transitional phase in their life I was open to taking and learning from Dolly Alderton's life experiences.

Content of the Memoir:

Dolly recounts her experiences and lessons learned from university, drinking, dating, being dumped, friendship, getting a job, and accepting herself for who she is. Sprinkled throughout the memoir is recipes, lists, and emails full of satire. Everything I Know About Love is about finding yourself, love, friendship, and the trials and triumphs of becoming an adult. 

What I Liked About the Memoir:

Some memoirs are dense and require lots of focus when reading. Everything I Know About Love is lights and an easy read. Its a quick read that does not require much focus and thought. This is the perfect beach read, travel read, or transition book/filler book. I liked that it was a breeze to get through and did not take much thought when reading. It was littered with whit, humor, and making fun of yourself and your mistakes. I appreciate that Dolly didn't take herself too serious which translated into her writing and the overall feeling of the memoir. The voice of this book was phenomenal. I attribute her expression of clear voice to her journalism career. This is something that I have seen some memoir authors struggle with. This book exceeded the use of voice. I would describe the writing style of this book as when you meet up with your friends after a night out and they are piecing together the events of the night before and trying to explain to you how they got from point A to point B. It was a very digestible and had a conversation-like tone to it. Because its a memoir the whole book is focused on character development. In saying that, there is also an expectation that the character will grow and learn from their lessons and experiences. At around the half way mark I was worried that Dolly would not get to this point. I was pleasantly surprised when something came into her life that turned her world and self-reflection upside-down. 

What I Disliked About the Memoir:

As someone who is not familiar with the geographic areas described in this book, I really struggled to comprehend the importance of the areas in which she was describing. At first this really bothered me and turned me off of the book because I was simply very confused. As I continued to read I got over it and just accepted that I would not fully understand the geographic areas and their importance to the story. As I mention with most of my book reviews, I like to find a way in which to relate a character, place, or plot of the story. Even with being in the same phase of life as Dolly was in the part of this story, I find her to be the complete opposite of me and extremely hard to relate to. As I reflected on this I decided that I did not need to find something to relate to and instead take in all her lessons and experiences and think of them as warnings. Something else that I struggled with in this memoir was the timeline. I felt like Dolly was all over the place at times. It was hard to keep track of where she was living, what she was doing for work/school, and who she was currently seeing. For example, she reintroduced Leo after already speaking about him and their relationship. At times the timeline was jumbled and hard to follow. Something I came to appreciate more after listening to The Readheads podcast episode was the lists and emails. As I read the emails I thought they were real emails that she received. I am still not sure if this is the case or not, but the Readheads helped me to see that these were extreme examples of satire that Dolly was using to describe the nuances of adulthood. I did not appreciate them fully while reading, but now do. A complaint that I had after finishing the book and before listing to the podcast episode was the title of the memoir. If her 20s had ended in a different manner I would totally understand the title of the book. But with how it ended I do not think the title fits. Yes, she had lessons about love, but that does not fully encompass all that this book is. I personally think the title is misleading and is not a true representation of the lessons in this book. 

Would I Recommend This Memoir:

I am sad to say but I would not recommend this book. Yes it is an entertaining read, but I personally believe and have read memoirs about 'love' and coming into adulthood that are more relatable and a better representation. I truly enjoyed the humor and satire in this book, but overall found I disliked more aspects than I liked. Full disclaimer, 3 of the 4 Readheads loved it. The choice is yours!

I should also mention that this book was made into a series on Peacock. I watched it and really enjoyed it. They changed the characters names for the show. Overall it was an entertaining show to watch. If you have Peacock give it a watch. 

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