‘Dear Dolly’ is a fabulous curation of Dolly Alderton’s agony aunt columns which have been a favourite go-to page in The Sunday Times ‘Style’ magazine since the early 2020s. This collection of ‘problem page’ letters followed by Alderton’s pearls of wisdom, make a great alternative book club choice, especially for those looking for a Wild Card read that offers an insightful and refreshing look at life’s conundrums.
‘Dear Dolly’ is divided into seven sections covering dilemmas associated with ‘love, life and friendship…’ Alderton picks out a range of questions that involve friendship, breakups, the complications of love, family, sex, being friends with an ex, the highs and lows of social media and body image. Although some dilemmas are rather bizarre and zany, most topics and issues feel universal and relatable which makes great discussion with friends and your book club posse. It was fascinating to observe how we all found similar predicaments in life, which Dolly evidently recognised, picking out scenarios that deemed her favourite and/or presented common modern life problems that together can be unravelled and in the most part solved. The book covers a diverse range of letters from readers of all sexes and age so be prepared to expect the unexpected and not always be in your ‘comfort zone’ of problems. In book club the letter and answers raised lots of smiles and laughter as we shared hidden problems of yesteryears as well as current issues and ones that seem on the horizon as we all head towards our own next chapter in life. The Den enjoyed the warmth of the author’s tone and her ability to lift the mood and find a positive spin on sharing problems.
From outlandish to relatable Alderton writes without judgement, leading a guiding light into solving the many chaotic problems and craziness that life throws at us. Described as the ‘Nora Ephron’ of our time, Alderton balances words of wisdom with just the right amount of sprinkling of good humour, uniting readers and book club to ‘work out the mess of life’.
The book works brilliantly as an audiobook and it’s certainly a quick and easy book to read, in small or large chunks - depending how much problem solving you have time to enjoy!
Dolly Alderton fans will be delighted to reunite with ‘Dear Dolly’, especially if they missed her column in ‘The Times’. Plus her second novel, 'Good Material', will be published later in the year, so do watch this space...