The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Review | Romance novelist Dolly Alderton’s ‘Good Material’ is perfect Valentine’s reading

British novelist Dolly Alderton is back with a new romance novel, “Good Material,” which leaves behind many well-known clichés in its realistic approach to interpersonal relationships.
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I was made aware of Dolly Alderton’s work through one of her books, “Everything I Know About Love,” which blew up on TikTok years after it was published in 2018. Alderton has since returned to literary social media acclaim with her newest romance novel, “Good Material.”

The story follows a breakup between cheerful, happy-go-lucky protagonist Andy, and his ex, Jen. They loved each other, but Andy couldn’t figure out why Jen decided to end their relationship. He is on a journey to find the reason why, and in the process, get her back.

I immediately noticed how sweet the cover looked. Aside from the bright color hues that encapsulate each text block, there is a drawing of two pieces of drying clothing with the sleeves entwined as if holding hands. I thought it was a cute way to set the mood of the book.

However, when I first started reading, I was surprised by the sudden symbolism, which subverted my initial impression by a long shot. It was the start of Andy’s five stages of grief, and the clothes had set him off.

As I was transported into this story of love, I admired how Alderton had managed to infuse so much personality into the main character, Andy. He’s funny, well-meaning, and dedicated to doing what he loves- comedy.

Alderton sprinkles jokes and witty phrases throughout every chapter which makes Andy’s personality more realistic. Through Andy, the author managed to make the most tedious moments of everyday life more bearable.

During the breakup, I felt that little by little, Andy began to lose his bright personality. But when it was finally time for him to get over it, he came right back more refined and polished. He never stayed bitter, sad, or angry for long and ended up a stronger man.

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One aspect I thought was a good twist was the fact that the book had two endings. Most of the novel portrays Andy’s point of view, but then Alderton includes Jen’s perspective at the very end. When the two perspectives collided, I realized two things. Both Andy and Jen found true love, and that sometimes one just has to let things end.

I’ve never been in a relationship, but through this book, I was able to live vicariously through the characters and their realistic ups and downs. Andy and Jen’s relatable conflict embodies what love is truly about, making “Good Material” the perfect romance novel for Valentine’s Day.

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About the Contributor
Isabelle Lubguban, Arts Reporter
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Isabelle Lubguban is a third-year student at the University of Iowa. She is majoring in English with a concentration of Creative Writing. This is her first year at the Daily Iowan as an Arts Reporter, and she enjoys doing photo and video editing in her free time.