Book Review: The Education of Ivy Edwards

by | Book Review

Ivy Edwards, I feel your pain. So much.

Ivy is a typical woman who is having trouble navigating her world and her future. In relationships, jobs and all-round health Ivy is having a hard time, and she appears to be drowning.

After her fiancé calls off her wedding, Ivy is unsurprisingly left feeling unsure of what to do with her life. After all, when you have planned a future with someone, their disappearance in your life leaves you feeling disorientated. Consequently, the walls of her world start caving in.

Her life lies in stark contrast to her sister’s. Ivy’s sister is happily married, and yet Ivy is now single. There is pressure on her to find the right man for herself: someone who appreciates her, someone she loves, someone she finds sexy and someone she wants to be able to take home to her opinionated mother for her to approve of. Ivy’s sister is a lawyer, and yet Ivy is stuck at a desk job where her boss is so preoccupied with her own health that she does not notice that she is making Ivy miserable, and her colleagues’ idea of a good time is to whip out a guitar and start singing songs. Ivy’s sister has stopped drinking because she is trying for a baby, and yet Ivy is downing more and more alcohol than she ever has before, and she has taken up doing drugs fairly regularly. And so, not only is Ivy’s world collapsing but her sister appears to be living a perfect life.

As a teenage female (although I have only a matter of weeks left to be able to call myself one) I am all too familiar with the numerous pressures that are placed upon Ivy. Work hard and get a job, because success in your career is so important to life I am told. I am also regularly asked if I am in a relationship, even when I evidently am not, because finding your soulmate who you want to start a family with seems to be expected of us all. At the same time, I am being told that I am only young once and that I need to make the most out of my younger years. And to top it all off, the media is telling me how I should look, think, act, and behave (so that of course means that to be a perfect woman I need to be a petite, avocado eating, smoothie and prosecco drinking female). Easy. Is that all you want me to do?!

I found great comfort in knowing that Ivy shares this sense of immense pressure. Ivy does not have her life figured out, far from it. But, the book also tells me that nobody does. Her sister is undergoing IVF because she cannot have a baby, and it is not proving successful. Her friend who is an actress is suffering from jealousy at her childhood friend being cast for more successful shows than herself. All these complicated characters are navigating their own problems, their own pressures. I empathise with Ivy, I really do, and yet I also finished the book with a great sense of community: as women we all feel this sense of drowning at times, and yet we all help each other to get through this together.

The Education of Ivy Edwards is out in eBook and Audiobook. The paperback will be released later this year.

Words By Sophie Wilson

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