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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

Sometimes judging a book by its cover leads you to find one of your new favorite books. That’s why, after seeing this book’s cover in every aesthetic beach photo on Pinterest, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. The fluorescent colors were too appealing to me to pass up, and the title alone was enough to get me intrigued in the memoir. 

Alderton’s memoir covers life stories from when she was a teenager to when she was thirty. The novel really mixes up your emotions until you don’t know what you are feeling anymore. Dolly tells stories about partying, jobs, romance, and friendship. After sharing stories that happened at a particular age, Alderton then writes about everything she knew about love at that age. Mixed in with her short stories and love lessons are satirical letters/emails and recipes (“Got Kicked Out of the Club Sandwich,” anyone?). Dolly’s writing is hilarious, passionate, and heartfelt. Her recounts of her experiences feel like an older friend telling you about their adventures from the previous week. The memoir really brings the reader in and invites them to experience life alongside Dolly. 

While reading this book I determined two things: 1) Dolly Alderton and I are very different people with very different life experiences and 2) because Dolly Alderton and I are very different, it was even more important that I read this book and take in what she’s saying. At some points throughout this book, I felt like I was listening to the popular high school girls talk about their adventures over the weekend. In these moments the novel felt unrelatable, disingenuous, and performative to me. As the memoir progressed, I felt more of a connection to Alderton and her friends. I felt less like an outsider and more like someone who was directly involved with these people and their lives. While reading the novel, I realized that although Dolly and I have different experiences, there is still something to learn from her. Her lessons and experiences are still relevant to me and my life. Dolly does a good job of trying to not isolate readers who may not be able to relate to her stories. The best thing about the novel is Dolly’s overall lesson to readers is that a romantic relationship isn’t something that should define them and romantic relationships aren’t the only relationships in their lives that matter. The reader is reminded that their friendships and relationship with themselves are also important. Dolly tells readers that they are enough and that they have so much life to experience. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. While there were some chapters that felt slower, the novel still kept a good pace and structure. Dolly’s writing was a good mix of funny but honest. This is a book that I feel like I could re-read every year just to revisit the stories and lessons from a new perspective. I think anyone who is going through a time of identity crisis, heartbreak, or just needs some new perspective on their situation. This is truly an amazing memoir and is relevant to a large audience. I would definitely read another book by Dolly Alderton. I give this book 4 stars.

Sarah Knowlton

Illinois State '24

Hi I'm Sarah! I am a junior at Illinois State and I am majoring in Human Development and Family Science! After I finish my bachelor's degree, I plan to get my master's degree in Human Development and Family Science as well. Besides writing, I like to read, watch TikToks, make art, and bake!