Published By: Penguin Fig Tree
Released On: 27/10/2022
Since early 2020, Dolly Alderton has been sharing her wisdom, warmth and wit with the countless people who have written in to her Dear Dolly agony aunt column in The Sunday Times Style. Their questions range from the painfully – and sometimes hilariously – relatable to the occasionally bizarre. They include breakups and body issues, families, friendships, dating, divorce, the pleasures and pitfalls of social media, sex, loneliness, longing, love and everything in between.
Without judgement, and with deep empathy informed by her own, much-chronicled adventures in love, friendship and dating, Dolly leads us by the hand through the various labyrinths of life, proving that a problem shared is truly a problem halved.
I’ll start by repeating what I’ve said on reviews of her previous books: I want to be Dolly Alderton when I’m older, regardless of the fact she is only 5 years my senior and I think I’m passed the “I want to be…..when I’m older” stage, my point still stands.
Generally I find her hilarious and honest in equal measure. She’s crude and entertaining, positive and uplifting, but doesn’t shy away from the tough parts of life.
This book is different to her others in that she’s not talking about her own life (or writing a fiction book), instead she’s providing us with a snippet of her agony aunt answers. And I so wanted it to work. But it didn’t for me.
It covers relationships, friendships, dating, sex, family, breakups, exes, body and soul. I find some bits more interesting than others, but none of them really thrilled me. The questions were all a bit similar and it got repetitive very quickly. Some of the questions felt really over the top, like they weren’t genuine and the answers got a bit stale. Theres only so much you can say about these topics when the questions are so samey.
But it just wasn’t interesting to me. Her previous books – both nonfiction and fiction – were shocking and crude and funny and surprising and felt like you were gossiping with a girlfriend. This one was just to safe. A bit tepid. Nothing wrong with her writing style, but it didn’t feel right in this. There is no shocking, earth shattering, surprising advice, it all felt very samey, the kind of thing you would read in a magazine or newspaper column, which of course it was originally. But it doesn’t lend itself to a dedicated book.
I think it would have worked better if she’d provide some of her own narrative around the topic rather than an almost copy and paste from a column.
Overall it ended up being a real disappointment for me. Like I said, I usually love her writing, but this didn’t hold my interest at all. I’ve been reminding Dolly’s books left, right and centre, but I don’t think I’ll bother with this one.