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Everything I Know about Love summary

Dolly Alderton

A Memoir

3.7 (18 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

'Everything I Know about Love' by Dolly Alderton is a memoir about love and relationships. It provides a relatable and honest account of the highs and lows of modern dating, and the importance of self-love and female friendships.

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    Everything I Know about Love
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    Anything for a good story…

    At approximately two in the morning, one night in the early 2010s, Dolly Alderton stumbled into the shopfront of a minicab company and announced she needed a ride to Leamington Spa. The three middle-aged cabbies who were drinking tea behind the desk burst into guffaws of laughter. Not because Alderton was inebriated – though, make no mistake, she was – but because the minicab office was in Finsbury Park, North London, and Leamington Spa is a quaint historical town south of Birmingham, just under 100 miles away from London down the M1 motorway. 

    They told Dolly she couldn’t be serious. 

    Undeterred, she countered that she was quite serious. 

    And, at the time, she was: she’d been drinking steadily for more than 12 hours. First, glass after glass of wine in the London sunshine of a mate’s back garden, then out in search of a party, a fruitless quest that led Dolly and a slightly-more-sober-friend up and down Oxford street in the city centre, then, at the slightly-more-sober friend’s behest, back to her flat in Finsbury Park. But Alderton wasn’t ready to give up on the night, so she began calling everyone in her mobile phone contacts list. Will – a crush from uni years – answered. Like Dolly, he’d been drinking all night and wasn’t ready to stop. The only problem was that he lived in Leamington Spa. But neither Dolly nor Will saw this as a real obstacle – besides, Dolly was so drunk that, while walking up and down Oxford street, she’d convinced herself she was in the city of Oxford, which was really rather close to Will (though not so close a fully sober person might consider making the journey there just to keep an afterparty going). 

    It would cost 200 pounds to take a cab from London to Leamington Spa. Dolly fronted up the first 100 in cash and convinced Will to pay the rest when she arrived. She was halfway sober when she arrived at Will’s at 5 in the morning. She and Will proceeded to remedy this state of affairs by smoking weed and fooling around in bed until 11am, then passing out together until 3 in the afternoon.

    From the time she was a suburban schoolgirl, Dolly dreamed of being an adult. Adulthood, in her estimation, was filled with romance, adventures, and hedonism. At the notoriously party-loving university of Exeter, Dolly fell in with a group of girls who were just as committed to collecting adventures and experiences as she was. Hangovers and broken hearts were fine, as long as they got a good story out of it. 

    But once they left university, it seemed to Dolly that her friends were, very gradually, starting to calm down. Settle into careers, fall in love, start thinking about things like couple’s holidays in the Cotswolds and kitchen tile. They weren’t just interested in collecting anecdotes anymore; they were growing up. Dolly found herself pulled in the other direction – she sought out wild escapades and hectic romances with even more urgency. Only later would Dolly realize that the stories she was seeking out were fragments, anecdotes – she wouldn’t see the story of her wildly-spent early twenties in its full shape until she was looking back. Now, at the end of that decade, Dolly can see the experiences that really shaped her, the lessons she needed to learn, and where the romance that always seemed to elude her was hiding all along.

    But back to Leamington Spa: Dolly woke up at 3 in the afternoon to dozens of missed calls and texts from her worried friends and a bank account in serious overdraft. One friend, Sophie, booked Dolly a bus ticket home. Sophie deliberately chose the longest bus journey possible – she thought it might do Dolly good to sit and reflect on her actions for once. Sophie’s plan went awry when Dolly made friends with a hen’s party en route to the city and did tequila shots with them all the way home. When Sophie met her at the bus station, Dolly was, once again, drunk, and now she was also wearing a sombrero. Dolly was still in the tangled middle of the story of her early youth – self-reflection didn’t appeal to her just then. That would all come later….

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    What is Everything I Know about Love about?

    Everything I Know About Love (2018) is Dolly Alderton’s very funny and painfully honest recollection of her early twenties, and all the bad dates, heartbreaks, grimy flat shares, and steadfast friendships this period of her life entailed. In 2022, the book was adapted for television by the BBC.

    Everything I Know about Love Review

    Everything I Know about Love (2018) by Dolly Alderton is a book that delves into the complexities of love, relationships, and self-discovery. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • With honest, relatable stories, it offers a glimpse into the highs and lows of love, making it a compelling read for anyone navigating the realm of relationships.
    • The author's vulnerability and introspection make the book incredibly authentic, allowing readers to connect and reflect on their own experiences with love and personal growth.
    • From heartwarming anecdotes to thought-provoking insights, the book effortlessly combines humor and depth, ensuring that it is anything but boring.

    Who should read Everything I Know about Love?

    • People on the cusp of adulthood wondering what their twenties will bring
    • Those on the other side of 30, still trying to work out what their twenties meant
    • Anyone who’s a romantic at heart

    About the Author

    Dolly Alderton is an award-winning English journalist, podcaster, and author, who has been described as the millennial’s Nora Ephron. 

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    Everything I Know about Love FAQs 

    What is the main message of Everything I Know about Love?

    Discover the highs and lows of love and the joy of self-discovery in Everything I Know about Love.

    How long does it take to read Everything I Know about Love?

    The reading time for Everything I Know about Love varies. The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is Everything I Know about Love a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Everything I Know about Love is a relatable and insightful book. It explores the complexities of love and life.

    Who is the author of Everything I Know about Love?

    Dolly Alderton is the author of Everything I Know about Love.