Ghosts – Dolly Alderton

Published by: Fig Tree
Pages: 336
Date released: 15/10/2020
Date read: 05/02/2021

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date on that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

I have come to the conclusion that I want to be Dolly Alderton when I grow up – even though she’s actually only about 5 years older than me. [For some reason when I type in the word ‘Dolly’ my computer automatically assumes I want to talk about Dolly Parton. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dolly Parton, she’s brilliant, but there’s a new Dolly in town.]

A friend leant me Dolly’s non-fiction book Everything I Know About Love a while ago, and without and pre-conceptions or expectations, I absolutely loved it. The same friend then leant me Ghosts. It was the same experience, except this time I already knew how much I loved Dolly’s writing.

I’m not going to pretend that I know exactly what Nina Dean is going through. I am not yet in my thirties, I don’t have a job I love (currently unemployed after being made redundant in 2020 – thanks Covid!), my friends aren’t all getting married and having babies, and I haven’t fallen in love with a hopeless romantic on a dating site. But I don’t think that matters. Dolly has a way of writing that speaks to everyone’s soul, whether you are that 30+ year old in that situation, or you’re a teenager trying to get through school or a retiree figuring out the remainder of her life. Dolly understands it all so innately. I hope so much that she is writing more books. Fiction, non-fiction – I’d even read the Yellow Pages (a niche reference for the youth of today I understand) if she had written it.

Can you tell I’m a little in love with Dolly Alderton?I just wish I could write like her.

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