I know very little about love. Most of the time I feel like I know very little about anything. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a career, or be able to afford my own home, or have a long-term relationship. Being a millennial seems to be largely about trying to figure it all out and when you’ve think you have someone’s gone and moved the goal posts. The comforting thing about reading Dolly Alderton’s memoir Everything I Know About Love is that I’m not alone in feeling this.It’s a memoir that covers a broad spectrum of topics, from friendships to relationships, from the perfect mac and cheese to Rod Stewart themed parties, from grief to hope.
If I’m honest, she had me at MSN. I’d completely forgotten about the weird social conventions that existed for that chat room and how short lived it was. I remember adding boys from the years above me in school, messaging them and then pretending the message was for someone else just to start a conversation, and the jarring jerk of the screen when someone shook your chat if you hadn’t replied fast enough. It was only between the ages of twelve and fifteen I used it in earnest, and then in college I stopped using it completely. Also kudos for mentioning Bebo, that was a whole other minefield to navigate. I can’t believe how competitive I was about gathering ‘love’ and being in everyone’s Top 16.
What’s clear is that Dolly Alderton has a cast of friends that are supportive, funny and constant when romantic relationships aren’t. It’s refreshing to have platonic love so prevalent. Her longstanding friendship with Farly is central to the book, and I liked that she was open about the feelings she had during Farly’s engagement, because its not something we find easy to talk about. Romantic relationships are coveted and platonic ones are seen as less, when that isn’t often the case.
Who hasn’t felt jealous when a new partner comes on the scene and suddenly the friend you used to binge-watch films with and demolish Dominoes isn’t around any more? But how often do we talk about it? And how often to we let that resentment sour our friendships further? I know I’ve been in situations where I’ve resented a friend’s boyfriend for turning up at a girls’ night, for going to that place I wanted to go with them, for taking up time that used to be mine. I’m sure others have felt that way too.
I’d wanted to read Everything I Know About Love for a while, and after a friend recommended it and I saw her at Hay Festival I couldn’t miss the opportunity to pick it up, and I’m glad I did. I don’t think I’ve ever related as much to a memoir before.