ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Good Material by Dolly Alderton

Good Material by Dolly Alderton is published by Viking and available in hardcover, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to the publishers for the proof copy of the book. I loved the accompanying playlist.

Every relationship has one beginning.
This one has two endings.

Andy loves Jen. Jen loved Andy.
And he can’t work out why she stopped.

Now he is. . .
1. Without a home
2. Waiting for his stand-up career to take off
3. Wondering why everyone else around him seems to have grown up while he wasn’t looking

Set adrift on the sea of heartbreak at a time when everything he thought he knew about women, and flat-sharing, and his friendships has transformed beyond recognition, Andy clings to the idea of solving the puzzle of their broken relationship. Because if he can find the answer to that, then maybe Jen can find her way back to him.

Andy still has a lot to learn, not least his ex-girlfriend’s side of the story.

From the bestselling author of Ghosts and Everything I Know About Love: a sharply funny, beautifully observed and exquisitely relatable story of heartbreak and friendship, and how to survive both.

Good Material follows Andy as he navigates through what feels like the wasteland of his life following his break-up with Jen. He really loves her and thought they were set for life so when Jen breaks it off with him he’s unable to understand what’s gone wrong. Over the next few months they disentangle themselves from each other in all the usual messy ways that the break-up of a long-term relationship brings.

The first thing to say about this book is that it is genuinely laugh out loud funny. I love a book that makes me guffaw and I don’t come across them very often but this one is so cleverly sharp and witty that the laughs came often. It’s brilliantly observed by Andy who comes across as a slightly hapless male, a part-time stand-up comedian who can’t quite make a living from it and so is flitting from job to job, never quite making it to the heady heights of being a fully-fledged grown-up.

It’s a bit different to see a story like this told almost entirely from the viewpoint of the male. I loved Andy and whilst I could see his flaws I also couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. The ending is a nice touch and put a lot into perspective for me, as a kind of onlooker to the break-up.

I thought Good Material was superb. It’s honest and real, hilarious yet also poignant, the characters are spot on creations and I didn’t want the story to end. It’s one of my top reads of the year.

Dolly Alderton is an award-winning author, screenwriter and journalist based in London. She is a columnist for The Sunday Times Style 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 first book Everything I Know About Love became a top five Sunday Times bestseller in its first week of publication, won a National Book Award (UK) for Autobiography of the Year and was made into a BBC One TV Series. Ghosts, her first novel was published by Fig Tree in 2020. Dear Dolly, a collection of her agony aunt columns from the Sunday Times Style magazine, was also a Sunday Times bestseller.

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