Friday, December 8, 2023

Book Club: You Love the TV Show, Now Read the Book – Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

Capsule x HelloFresh – This month’s book is Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

Welcome to Capsule’s book club! We’re SO excited to bring you a new book each month to devour and savour. Whether you indulge in a few hours of luxurious alone time each Sunday with a glass of something and a delicious meal, or finish your day with a chapter or two, we invite you to relax and enjoy, and if you’re so inclined, connect with fellow Capsule readers and your own family and friends to have a yarn about the book you’ve just read. And we’ll be matching each book with a special offering from our friends at HelloFresh (they’re the ones who’ll have dinner sorted, so you can spend more time engrossed in your book).

This month, HelloFresh is now making ‘me  time’ even easier by providing us with curated selection of extras that cater for all meal occasions. Their new offerings  are the perfect solution for breakfasts, ready-to-heat meals, desserts  and those extras you need for entertaining. These offerings are even perfect  for when you are snuggling up with a good book, just like our latest book club pick, Everything I Know About Love (and try it with the delectably Spiced Apple and Pear Crumble – recipe below- because GOD it’s cold and you deserve it).

One of the cleverest balancing acts that the bestselling memoir, Everything I Know About Love, manages to pull off is to make the reader both simultaneously nostalgic for their early 20s, while making you also grateful that you don’t ever have to relive them. Written by journalist Dolly Alderton, the memoir has recently been adapted into a TV series – currently screening on TVNZ+.

The show is excellent – funny, sexy, chaotic, sad and captures the “golden, grubby time of life” pitch so perfectly. But the book is also a must-read for the many parts of early 20s life it manages to sum up. If you ever watched Sex and the City and thought, “But how did they afford any of this?” then the world of Everything I Know About Love will appeal. It has all of the makings of a great novel – sex, drama, tragedy, friendship dynamics – with some unexpected and relatable content as well – Rod Stewart cardboard cut-outs, empty bank accounts, terrible men, terrible parties, terrible decisions.

As a dating columnist, Dolly Alderton finally found the perfect outlet for someone as obsessed with the opposite sex as she was. Going to a private girls’ school meant that boys were always the exciting, mysterious ‘other’ and she arrives at her 20s still constantly surprised that she’s no longer under adult supervision – and she’s a long way away from being an adult herself. A lot of the book – and all of the TV series – takes place in a four-female flat in a shitty part of London (complete with dodgy landlord and an ever-expanding mould patch), as Dolly and her closest friends fumble their way around their first jobs and first loves.

But the real love story is between Dolly and her friends; in particular, her best friend Farley. BFFs since high school, the pair arrive in London ready to take on the world and very quickly, Farley finds a serious boyfriend. The book expertly sums up the complicated happy-but-sad grief that comes with being the last one in your friend group to find a boyfriend and the loneliness of always being the third wheel. (Trust us, all of Capsule can relate to that one!)

The book also covers some of the difficulties of being a growing-up woman – Dolly goes through a binge drinking period of her life, and then a bad break-up triggers an eating disorder that leaves her seriously sick for many months. A close family friend in her early 20s gets sick suddenly and then dies. In every situation, it is friendship that comes to save the day and that is the heart of the book – boys and family may come and go but friendships can be the real saving grace of your life.

In fact, one of the final chapters includes a passage that is now often quoted as a wedding reading – which is lovely and ironic when you consider it’s about friendship.

“I also know that love is a pretty quiet thing.

It’s lying on the sofa together drinking coffee, talking about where you’re going to go that morning to drink more coffee. It’s folding down pages of books you think they’d find interesting.

It’s hanging up their laundry when they leave the house having moronically forgotten to take it out of the washing machine.

It’s saying ‘You’re safer here than in a car’ as they hyperventilate on an EasyJet flight to Dublin.

It’s the texts: ‘Hope your day goes well’, ‘How did today go?’, ‘Thinking of you today’ and ‘Picked up loo roll’.

I know that love happens under the splendour of moon and stars and fireworks and sunsets but it also happens when you’re lying on blow-up airbeds in a childhood bedroom, sitting in A&E or in the queue for a passport, or in a traffic jam.

Love is a quiet, reassuring, relaxing, pottering, pedantic, harmonious hum of a thing; something you can easily forget is there, even though its palms are outstretched beneath you in case you fall.”

And while you’re reliving your 20s with a combination of nostalgia and regret, may we suggest some comfort food to help the vibe?

Spiced Apple & Pear Crumble with Vanilla Custard

Serves 4+


2 Apples
2 Pears
600ml vanilla custard
1tsp cinnamon
20g brown sugar
100g butter
1tbsp water

Crumble Mixture

40g oats
30g shredded coconut
70g brown sugar
160g plain flour


Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Cut apple and pear into small chunks.

TIP: For a more traditional crumble, peel the fruit before cutting into chunks.

In a medium baking dish, combine apple, pear, cinnamon, brown sugar (for the fruit), the water and a pinch of salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine oats, shredded coconut, brown sugar (for the crumble), plain flour and a pinch of salt. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Stir the melted butter through the bowl of crumble mixture.

Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over spiced fruit. Bake until the topping is golden and fruit is tender, 20-25 minutes.

TIP: The fruit is cooked when you can pierce it easily with a fork.

Divide spiced apple and pear crumble between bowls. Serve with vanilla custard.

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