Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

Book review: “Everything I Know About Love” by Dolly Alderton 


This page-turner about friendship reminds readers that relationships are not easy and require sustained care and attention. In medicine and life, this can lead to meaningful and loyal bonds. 

Sometimes when I start reading a book, it becomes very clear that I’m not the intended audience. Some authors craft their message and appeal for a specific demographic. Often when I realize this is the case, I bail.  


“Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir” by Dolly Alderton, wasn’t written for me. It was written by a woman, for women, and is ultimately a celebration of the supportive and beautiful relationships that women have with each other.  


That said, from the very beginning of the book I was hooked. The story is largely set in LondonI don’t know why but I’ve always loved stories set in the UK. The protagonist is a young woman who faces many challenges; I immediately liked her and cared about what was going to happen to her in the story. 


So why I was I moved to write this CLOSLER piece and divulge to all that I highly recommend this fabulous book of fiction? It’s because near the end of the book, the protagonist shares “28 lessons learned in 28 years.” I loved these. Many are ideas that I regularly convey to patients, and others represent thoughtful insights that I’ll now start sharing with patients, mentees, colleagues, friends, and family. Here are six that will give you a flavor of the list and the themes covered in the book: 


1. Life is a difficult, hard, sad, unreasonable, irrational thing.

So little of life makes sense. So much of it is unfair. And a lot of it simply boils down to the unsatisfying formula of good and bad luck. 


2. Life is a wonderful, mesmerizing, magical, fun, silly thing.

And humans are astounding. We all know we’re going to die, and yet we still live. We shout and curse when the full trash bag breaks, and marvel at a nectarine sunset. I don’t know how we do it. 


3. No one is ever, ever obliged to be in a relationship they don’t want to be in. 


4. No matter how awful your neighbors are, try to stay on the good side.  


5. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything, try this: clean your room, answer all your unanswered emails, listen to a podcast, take a bath, and go to bed before 11 pm. 


6. Everything will change. And it could happen any morning. 


This is a great beach read. Another similar recommendation for your summer reading list is “The Seven Year Slip” by Ashley Poston. Happy reading! 









This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.