The figurative language of Dolly Alderton

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about similes from Dolly Alderton….

Dolly Alderton is a British-based writer and journalist with both British and Canadian roots.

Alderton began writing for The Sunday Times as a dating columnist from 2015 to 2017. Then, in 2020, she began working as an agony aunt for The Sunday Times in her column Dear Dolly. She also co-created and co-hosted a weekly podcast called The High Low, which focused on pop culture and current affairs. It ran for four years and 150 episodes before it concluded in 2020.

Her memoir, Everything I Know About Love, which was a New York Times bestseller, won a National Book Award (UK) for Autobiography of the Year and was made into a TV series.

Her 2024 novel, Good Material, has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, The Guardian and the Independent, tells the story of a standup comedian who tries to make sense of his life after separating from his girlfriend.

I was impressed with how Alderton handled the ending in a sophisticated rather than trite way. And I especially appreciated her fine sense of humour and her use of figurative language. Here are my favourite examples:

  • I watch until exactly 7:03 p.m., when I picked up the phone to the woman I’ve loved for three years, ten months and twenty-nine days, who dumped me and smashed my heart like a sinewy piñata eight days and twenty-two hours ago.
  • I cringed as I watched drunken thoughts tumble out of my mouth like Scrabble tiles and I tried to piece them together into clever observations.
  • How could I have let myself believe, even for a second, that single thirty-something life would be an endless buffet of opportunities, when I know it is, at best, small plates.
  • His face wears booze like it’s a suit that’s perfectly tailored to him.
  • He shakes his body slightly, as if he can get rid of his feelings like raindrops on a coat.
  • As thirty-five approached, nearly every woman I know got pregnant, keen to hand in their homework to mother nature before the famous deadline.
Scroll to Top