Good Material by Dolly Alderton

Tell me an author who writes about love like Dolly Alderton and I promise you, I’ll devour their books as I did this one. Alderton’s latest, Good Material, is about relationships, heartbreak, and sentimental yearning. Even more, it’s about friendship, family, careers, taking chances, and growing older.

Summer of 2019, Jen has broken up with Andy after more than four years together. Thirty-five year old Andy is heartbroken. Despite a long list of reasons it’s good he isn’t with Jen anymore, including the fact she can’t dance, she comes from a weird family, and is a snob, he can’t stop thinking about her and all the amazing things about their relationship. Even though she’s ruined his life. 

Andy goes through the motions of the breakup. At first he’s questioning, Why did Jen fall out of love with me? He’s ignoring his best friend, drowning his sorrows in alcohol during the day, and obsessing over her social media and all the messages they exchange.

There are reminders of Jen everywhere, including the scent of Armani She perfume, which during in a moment of madness, he purchases four bottles at Boots Chemist, and throws them into a canal. Four fewer potential opportunities for him to smell Jen, he thinks.

Despite advice from a friend that break-ups can be a good thing, a chance to teach us who we are, Andy feels he’s too old now. His career as a comedian has hit a standstill, and he’s consumed by an area of hair loss on his head that he takes a photo of each day that he saves under an album called “BALD.” 

With the passing of time, and support of his friends and his mum, Andy processes the break-up, even when he must face Jen again. I felt how all the characters in this book had been changed so deeply by love, whether it’s the love for their children, wife, husband, or partners.

Told from the perspective of Jen and Andy, Good Material gives both sides of the story. While much of the book focuses on Andy post-breakup, towards the end readers get a glimpse into life for Jen. It was a little like Fleishman Is in Trouble when we had the switch from Toby to Rachel.

Alderton writes so beautifully and so humorously about love. I would read this again in a heartbeat.

Dolly Alderton is an award-winning author, screenwriter and journalist based in London. She is a columnist for the Sunday Times Style magazine and has also written for GQ, Red, Marie Claire, and Grazia. She is the former co-host and co-creator of the podcast The High Low. Her books include Ghosts, Dear Dolly, and Everything I Know About Love, which was a New York Times best seller, won a National Book Award (UK) for Autobiography of the Year and was made into a TV series.

Good Material is available for pre-order, releasing January 30th in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format. Check (U.S.), Penguin Random House Canada, or

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