Before I start, I should say I’m probably not the intended demographic for this book and I had a definite (fatigued) sense of ‘been there done that.’ I pretty much grew up a decade ahead of Dolly so with that in mind, you may take the negatives in this review with a pinch of salt.
I’ve listened to and loved Dolly Alderton’s podcasts so I really thought I’d enjoy this book but sadly, I didn’t like it as much as I’d hoped. Dolly’s experiences are similar to the ones we all had as teenagers, except she had more money than most of us did and doesn’t at any point seem to realise her privileges even with the benefit of hindsight. Instead the tales are told as thought they were unique and the tone felt off.
Some of the anecdotes offered a little bit of fond 90s nostalgia but on the whole I struggled to relate and was left a little disappointed through this earlier part of the book. I think the wild stories were supposed to be funny but something about the way they’re told come across as though the author has a misplaced sense of pride in her actions. Never at any point did you get a sense of young naivety with reflection. Instead, it felt like the author imprinted the wisdom and perspective she’d gained over he years onto her younger self so it felt a bit sanctimonious.
As the stories cover her getting older there are some more serious topics covered. It was a great opportunity to show a scared side or a rawness but even the telling of these tales fell flat for me. Instead of opening up, the author just covered the ‘here’s what good advice I offered’, ‘here’s how I was funny’ or ‘here’s what I did well’. It felt disingenuous and came across as a little narcissistic at times. The parts where we’re supposed to empathise just didn’t work for me. The key messages are there but clouded so much with what she felt then rather than what she’s learned since.
Overall the book Just seemed self-indulgent. It’s a shame because it’s really well written (hence the 3 stars) and there were some quite profound statements and observations. I think it could have been a great read with plenty of laughs and opportunities for content that people could to relate to but for me, it missed the mark.
Genre: non-fiction/ autobiography