How much can we know when young?

EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE
DOLLY. ALDERTON
friendship, women's fiction, relationships, family
Penguin
Feb 2019

ith courageous honesty, Alderton documents the highs and the lows - the sex, the drugs, the nightmare landlords, the heartaches and the humiliations. Deeply funny, sometimes shocking, and admirably open-hearted and optimistic' Daily Telegraph

'A sensitive, astute and funny account of growing up millennial' Observer

'Alderton proves a razor-sharp observer of the shifting dynamics of long term female friendship' Mail on Sunday

'The book we will thrust into our friends' hands . . . that will help heal a broken heart. Alderton's wise words can resonate with women of all ages. She feels like a best friend and your older sister all rolled into one and her pages wrap around you like a warm hug' Evening Standard

'I loved its truth, self awareness, humour and most of all, its heart spilling generosity' Sophie Dahl

'Steeped in furiously funny accounts of one-night stands, ill-advised late-night taxi journeys up the M1, grubby flat-shares and the beauty of female friendships, as Alderton joyfully booze-cruises her way through her twenties' Metro

'It's so full of life and laughs - I gobbled up this book. Alderton has built something beautiful and true out of many fragments of daftness' Amy Liptrot

A memoir rather than an autobiography, based on truth and articles and columns previously published.

An insight (for me) into the world of the millenials and their lives as renters and users of dating apps and drinking especially.

We drank as students, of course we did, and there were some drugs about too, but I married young and so never really experienced a long period of post-uni dating. We did share though, even after marriage as we just couldn’t afford our flat without ‘lodgers’, so we turned a 2 bed flat into a 3 bed and lived without much of a lounge except when we all sat together to watch TV on one guy’s bed-sofa. As I stopped being a post-grad and started earning money our flat-mates gradually moved out – the last with a bit of a push!

This book was brutally truthful. a real soul baring of life as lived by Dolly. Her life’s highs and lows. Love and loss. And it cannot help but affect the reader.

I suspect we all recognise something of ourselves (especially women) in Dolly and it certainly made me think about myself and my behaviours and how they did or did not match up.

And thanks for the recipes, Dolly. I intend to make the ice-cream and a variant on the apple pizza one day – not the marzipan though as this would be just too sweet for our taste.

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Albania treats its women badly it seems

Antigona and Me Book Cover Antigona and Me
Kate Clanchy
Biography & Autobiography
Pan Macmillan
2009
273

Antigona and Me is a memoir of the five years the poet Kate Clanchy spent living closely with Antigona, a Kosovan refugee. Antigona becomes her project, her protegee, her cleaner, her nanny, and slowly, through hours of conversation and negotiations of difference, her friend. Through the story of the women's growing understanding is woven the dramatic tale of Antigona's great escape – from Milosevic, from her forced, violent marriage, and from the most traditional pastoral society in Europe – and the growing toll of her losses, as she and her rebellious teenage daughters negotiate London. Antigona's wit and vertiginous perspectives on contemporary life illuminate and transform the way the writer thinks, bringing many hard truths uncomfortably close to home.

 

I really wanted to love this book – and I did initially, but then I got bored.

The story of he Albanian treatment of women and the Kanun of Lek is horrifying, and the blood feuds that continue for years is well known across those areas – and in Sardinia and other remote areas too. I thought at first that Antigona was a great character and inspiration, but as the story develops she became less so, and I got bored of all the discussion about the Kanun and the relatives and the way women should behave and…

It certainly was very tragic and the life these women led in Albania was horrific but how many times can you say it and not de-sensitise your reader?

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