Today we feature and review The Education of Ivy Edwards by Hannah Tovey. The book is out now in eBook with the paperback set for release in August. Our guest reviewer Tanya Kaanta tells us her thoughts on the book below.
The Education of Ivy Edwards by Hannah Tovey
Adult life is hard. Send help.
Ivy Edwards is thirty-one years old, funny, shameless, and a bit of a romantic.
She’s also currently trying not to cry in the office toilet.
Partly because she’s just run out of money for fags. A bit because her mum continues to annoy her. Definitely not because she’s just been dumped by her fiancé.
With her London life in shambles and her family miles away in the Welsh valleys, Ivy doesn’t actually feel like she belongs anywhere.
At least, she has her friends – and a bottle of vodka.
Embarking on a journey of singlehood, Ivy is about to discover that sometimes, having your life fall apart can be surprisingly fun.
Sometimes, heartbreak can be the best education . . .
Book Review by Tanya Kaanta
I was so pleasantly surprised by the book and in the end, I didn’t want it to end. Which is saying a lot, because the first chapter I was underwhelmed and scratching my head. With each turn of the page, however, I found myself engrossed in Ivy’s life and wanting to know what happens next. So much so, I finished The Education of Ivy Edwards in one sitting. After reading the last sentence, I couldn’t stop thinking about the book. All the themes running through the narrative, how Ivy is such an imperfect heroine with fabulous character development, and the realness of her friends, coworkers, and family. Yes, reader friends, I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Still am.
Ivy is a young-thirties woman living with her fiancé. A man who promptly dumps her at the beginning of the story. No spoilers, the breakup is literally the first chapter. And it’s just quite slimy how he does it, but I can totally see a guy ending an engagement this way. (I definitely won’t spoil this gem of a breakup for you). Thus, begins Ivy’s descent into a craptastic existence of depression. How this breakup affects her interactions with sister and brother-in-law, parents, grandfather, best friends, and co-workers. Ultimately, how this breakup forces her to re-examine life and re-emerge, even as life throws more whammies her way.
There is one stylistic piece that took me off guard—the dialogue. The conversations consist of very little dialogue tags or action beats. In the beginning, I became confused on who said what. But after getting used to this presentation, I could remind myself to keep track of each line, so I knew which line to attribute to which character.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Ivy’s journey. For me, she started off whiney with few redeeming qualities. But as the author peels back the layers of this heroine, I’m able to appreciate her nuances, her choices, and ultimately I become her cheerleader. I’m sympathetic/empathetic to Ivy and what happens to her, and strangely, the characteristics I find annoying at the very beginning are the ones I love in the end. A tribute to a talented author who understands the human predicament and in turn, writes a complex character-driven story that could come off mundane, yet shines. In all honesty, I want more Ivy. Maybe a few bonus chapters or an epilogue? One can always hope.
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