Every Woman Should Read Everything I Know About Love

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

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

I have never been the biggest fan of non-fiction. Growing up, I loved to get lost in fictional worlds and would imagine myself being a wizard, a princess, or a hero with exciting powers. Even now, at 21 years old, I find myself turning to lighthearted and cheesy romance novels versus serious books about current affairs or personal stories. I always thought that I needed some underlying storyline of love, friendship, or drama in order to be enraptured in a book, and I always assumed that I could only find those themes present in fiction. But, boy oh boy, was I wrong.

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through “BookTok” and stumbled upon a video of a girl talking about her favorite books of all time. On the list was a book that I had heard of before, and the bright blue color with scribbled-out words on the cover had caught my eye many times when I was scrolling through Goodreads or looking up books online. The girl was talking about Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton and said that there was no book she recommended more for a woman in her 20s. As a woman in her 20s myself, this piqued my interest, but when she said that the book was a memoir, my excitement deflated. I had never read a memoir before, and I worried that I would be bored reading about an average person’s life. I use reading as an escape – why would I want to read about the real world? Nonetheless, I kept seeing the book pop up on Instagram and TikTok and could not stop my intrigue from becoming unbearable. Finally, I couldn’t put it off any longer and I decided to give Everything I Know About Love a shot.

This memoir follows the life of author Dolly Alderton and her journey with love, loss, parties, friends, boyfriends, and everything in between from her time at an all-girls private school into her early 30s. The audience travels with Dolly as she drinks her way through University, goes on bad first dates, moves into an apartment with her best friends, watches her friends get married, and grapples with what she wants to do and who she wants to be – all quintessential experiences of a young woman entering life after graduation. Dolly’s writing is witty and heartwarming, drawing you into a wonderfully messy but beautiful life that is easy to get lost in from the first page. Without even knowing when or how, you begin to symapathize with Dolly and root for her. You cringe when she talks about her bad make-out with a boy at a house party. You laugh when you read about her wild nights out. You cry when she discusses her eating disorder. And throughout her stories, you begin to see what pieces together her experiences and what makes Dolly who she is, which she realizes in her 20s – “Nearly everything I know about love, I’ve learnt from my long-term friendships with women.”

Now having finished the book, I can say that without a doubt it has changed my life. I found myself quickly sucked into Dolly’s life and taking in her words as if they were coming from a wise older sister. What begins as funny recounts of drunken nights and silly mistakes turns into a story of self-discovery and learning how to look at love from a different perspective. As someone freshly beginning a new decade of life, I sometimes feel a little self-conscious about my dating experience (or lack thereof). When I see people my age in happy, committed relationships, sometimes I can’t help but think that there must be something wrong with me and that maybe I will never experience love like I’ve seen in the movies or read in books. But Dolly’s words opened my eyes to the reality that I have experienced love, and lots of it. Love is driving with my best friends and screaming to Taylor Swift together or talking about our biggest fears after graduation. Love is my grandmother sending me a Thanksgiving card in the mail. Love is a friend writing me a note wishing me luck in an interview. Love is my mom showing up to important school events in my life, even when I’m in college. Love is a friend sending me a song they think I’d like or telling me I look really good in that color. Love, as Dolly puts it, is “a quiet, reassuring, relaxing, pottering, pedantic, harmonious hum of a thing; something you can easily forget is there, even though its palms are outstretched beneath you in case you fall.” I am thankful that this book reminded me of something I so easily forget sometimes – there is truly nothing as pure and good as friendship with women. I am lucky to have many good ones in my life and cannot wait to see what else I learn about love as I continue to gain new friendships. 

If you are a young woman, especially one in your 20s, I highly recommend Everything I Know About Love. It will make you laugh, cry, and think all in one chapter. It will make you reflect on your friendships with women and remind you why you’re alive. It will wrap you in a warm hug and hold on tight. 



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