I’m on a bit of a memoirs reading streak at the moment, and I am hopelessly in love with this book.
I resisted buying it for a while, because without knowing anything about Dolly Alderton, the title & cover looked a bit sappy. Yes, I did judge the book by its cover. I wrote it off (literary pun there) as a romance, the kind you take on a beach holiday and leave at the resort when you’re done.
But this book is infinitely more than my first impressions suggested.
This book is actually the most beautiful platonic love story that I have ever read. It made me think of my closest friends; Mandy, Daria and JenJen.
It reinforced the biggest lesson I learned in my twenties: that you can’t rely on one human being to be the source of all the love and support you will ever need.
I don’t look to the South African to give me everything I need in life. That would be way too much pressure on both of us, and we’d break to pieces very quickly.
I loved seeing Dolly’s story veer away from the traditional narrative of:
“Meet boy. Fall in love with boy. Marry boy in big & expensive ceremony. Have babies with boy. Lose all of your autonomy and take on the new identity of ‘Mother’. Wait until babies have grown up and left for university, then have your scheduled midlife crisis. Leave the boy you married. Go on adventures in mountainous climes, having wild and liberating sex with every attractive person you meet. Realise that you are the greatest love of your life. Celebrate your enlightenment by shagging your new future husband on the beach at sunset in Thailand, while dolphins frolic in the surf and applaud your sexual prowess and liberation.”
Instead, we follow Dolly throughout her twenties, welcome to share in her fuck ups, jealousies, paranoia, love, friendships, career highs, desperate lows, and an eventual understanding that this shit happens to EVERYONE.
I always say that you couldn’t pay me enough money to ever repeat being a teenager. I feel that way about my twenties too. But I was happy and privileged to share in Dolly’s twenties, and I am now unashamedly stalking her on Instagram. Thank you, Dolly.