All too often, anecdotes about millennials are, in a word, unflattering. Millennials, common opinion goes, are adult-children who are obsessed with unearned praise, skinny jeans and avocado toast. In her new book Ghosts, British podcaster and author Dolly Alderton has written a millennial-driven story that’s actually deeply relatable, instead of insulting. And it’s wonderful.
Nina Dean is a 32-year-old food writer living in north London. All but one of her closest friends—the lovable Lola—are either married with children, married and planning to have children soon or in committed relationships. (While hanging out with her close friend Katherine, Nina laments that she can “count at least three elephants now omnipresent in the room of our friendship from my side, and I’m sure Katherine could count at least three more of her own.”)
Still, as a single and successful woman, you get the impression that Nina isn’t one to define herself by her relationships. Dating is a chore, anyway. She notes, “Being a heterosexual woman who loved men meant being a translator for their emotions, a palliative nurse for their pride and a hostage negotiator for their egos.”
But then she downloads a Tinder-esque dating app and meets ruggedly handsome Max. The two hit it off immediately and begin an intense relationship in which Max tells Nina that he loves and sees a future with her. As her love life seems to flourish, though, her family life is in shambles. Her beloved father has been diagnosed with dementia and her mother—with whom Nina’s never been terribly close—is in the midst of a late-onset midlife crisis (she wants to change her name from Nancy to Mandy, for one).