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Good Material by Dolly Alderton

Literary fiction

Good Material

by Dolly Alderton

Excellent choice

Excellent choice

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Quick take

A stand-up comedian tries to find insight and humor in the disastrous end of his relationship with the woman he loves.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Emotional

    Emotional

  • Illustrated icon, LOL

    LOL

  • Illustrated icon, Millenial

    Millennial

  • Illustrated icon, Buzzy

    Buzzy

Synopsis

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

Now he is. . .

Without a home

Waiting for his stand-up career to take off

Wondering why everyone else around him seems to have grown up while he wasn’t looking

Set adrift on the sea of heartbreak, Andy clings to the idea of solving the puzzle of his ruined relationship. Because if he can find the answer to that, then maybe Jen can find her way back to him. But Andy still has a lot to learn, not least his ex-girlfriend’s side of the story…

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Good Material.

Good Material

REASONS WHY IT’S GOOD I’M NOT WITH JEN

Can’t dance. Has no rhythm at all. Used to find it adorable until I saw people laughing at her and hate to say I was embarrassed.

Once overheard her say “Let’s grab a cappuccino some time and we’ll talk” to my teenage cousin who wanted advice about his university applications.

Generally has quite nineties ideas about what is glamorous, like cocktails or spending twenty pounds on a plate of tagliatelle in a “little place.”

Refuses to get to the airport a minute earlier than ninety minutes before a flight takes off.

Don’t have to persuade her to like where we live any more.

When she would go for a run in the evening she would come into the living room, stretch in front of the TV and say “What’s this?” and make me explain the programme I was watching even though she knew what it was, just to make a point that she was exercising while I was watching Help, I’m a Hoarder!

Talked too much and too smugly about coming from a big family, as if it was her decision to have three siblings.

Always used to boast about how she’d reject an OBE if it were offered to her because of her apparent lefty republican values but would never know why she’d be offered an OBE in this fantasy when I asked her.

Would definitely never reject an OBE if it were offered to her.

Would take an hour to go to bed, no matter what time she got in, because she’d do a seven-step skincare routine, browse shopping apps and listen to podcasts. And yet only left twenty minutes from her alarm going off to having to leave the flat in the morning.

Always late for me, never late for work.

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Why I love it

Modern dating. With these two words, you have the power to terrify entire generations of people (me, included). If there’s one thing to get you through it, it’s commiserating with your friends (and reading excellent novels). Good Material captures the conflicting feelings of modern-day love in adulthood beautifully, hilariously, and honestly.

We meet Andy at his nadir—he’s been broken up with by the only woman he’s ever loved. He insists, out of the blue. At 35, the comedian struggles to pick himself back up again. He takes to self-destructive habits and remains obsessed with his ex. We follow Andy through his healing process, as he gains and loses progress time and time again. While there’s plenty of heartbreak in this book, there’s also plenty of humor. We watch as Andy moves in with his delightfully old landlord, picks up comedy again, and even tries to re-enter the dating world. Andy’s voice is raw, sharp, and witty, and will leave you remembering just how bad heartbreak feels. But as everyone in his life keeps telling him, doesn’t it make for good material?

Dolly Alderton depicts the human experience with painful accuracy. She will leave you both laughing and crying—and reminding yourself, in the end, that you’re doing just fine. This book will pull your darkest emotions out of you but leave you feeling hopeful in the end. It’s a transformative experience, and I insist you take it on.

Member ratings (2,035)

  • Derin K.

    Millbrae, CA

    I know it’s just February, but I’m calling this as one of the best books I’m going to read this year because it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I can’t believe this is my first Dolly Alderton—

  • Julie M.

    Portland, OR

    A break-up book, but not a rom-com, laugh-out-loud funny but also smart and insightful. Told from a man’s POV which I generally don’t love, but this was an exception. Giving Bridget Jones at times. 🩷

  • Michelle S.

    Henrico, VA

    I LOVED THIS ONE. A modern masterpiece for the late 20-30 year old wrestling with love & heartbreak. With each character’s relatability plus its lovely British charm/wit, Dolly absolutely crushed it💜

  • Melissa B.

    Lowell, MA

    This was my first Dolly Alderton experience. I was hooked immediately and then that faded by Andy’s annoying choices. But I was back in when I read Jen’s perspective. Found the book cleverly written.

  • Alexis I.

    Columbus, OH

    This book was fun and relatable. I could see Jason Segel playing Andy in the movie as I read it. And then I read that final chapter and that final line and this book instantly became a 5 star read! ❤️

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Literary fiction
View all
Real Americans
Wellness
Margo’s Got Money Troubles
Same As It Ever Was
Annie Bot
Mercury
True Biz
The Husbands
The Lady Waiting
The Other Valley
Hard by a Great Forest
Good Material
The Bullet Swallower
Alice Sadie Celine
Let Us Descend
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Banyan Moon
Shark Heart
Transcendent Kingdom
Hello Beautiful
Dominicana
What's Mine and Yours
The Unsettled
Ask Again, Yes
Vladimir
Infinite Country
The Prophets
Normal People
The Verifiers
Salvage the Bones
The Many Daughters of Afong Moy
I Have Some Questions for You
Black Buck
The History of Love
Age of Vice
Paper Names
The Light Pirate
The Secret History
The Kite Runner
Memorial
The Half Moon
Happiness Falls
The Gifted School
The Death of Vivek Oji
The Knockout Queen
Little Monsters
Yerba Buena
Beautiful World, Where Are You
Free Food for Millionaires
A Burning
The Mothers
The Water Dancer
Small Country
The Sympathizer
Fleishman Is in Trouble
Lot
An American Marriage
The Animators
The Leavers
The Mars Room
Exit West
The Windfall
White Fur
Woman No. 17
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Eat Only When You're Hungry
Rainbirds
A Ladder to the Sky
Golden Child
The Goldfinch
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P
& Sons
The Association of Small Bombs
Lolly Willowes
All Grown Up
Marlena
Signal Fires
Someday, Maybe
Woman of Light
Marrying the Ketchups
The Shards