The Miseducation of Evie Epworth
By Matson Taylor
Rated: 5 stars *****
Written by Louise Cannon (Lou)
Today I am delighted and excited to present to you my review of the heartwarming and funniest book I’ve read in ages – The Miseducation of Evie Epworth. It’s a book I highly recommend. Find out more about the author, the book and my review below.
About the Author
Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire but now lives in London. He is a design historian and academicwriting tutor and has worked at various universities and museums around the world; he currently teaches at the V&A, Imperial College, and the RCA. He has also worked on Camden Market, appeared in an Italian TV commercial, and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan opera singers.
Cold Comfort Farm meets Adrian Mole in the funniest debut novel of the year.
Yorkshire, the summer of 1962. Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?
Up until now, Evie’s life has been nothing special: a patchwork of school, Girl Guides, cows, milk deliveries, lost mothers and village fetes. But, inspired by her idols (Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen), she dreams of a world far away from rural East Yorkshire, a world of glamour lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds).
Standing in the way of these dreams, though, is Christine, Evie’s soon to be stepmother, a manipulative and money grubbing schemer who is lining Evie up for a life of shampoo and-set drudgery at the local salon. Luckily, Evie is not alone. With the help of a few friends, and the wise counsel of the two Adam Faith posters on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’), Evie comes up with a plan to rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save their beloved farmhouse from being sold off. She will need a little luck, a dash of charm and a big dollop of Yorkshire magic if she is to succeed, but in the process she may just discover who exactly she is meant to be.
I love this book from the very first page. It is full of so much good humour. Humour, like writing and even my review, is subjective, but it takes skill to get humour down on a page well. Matson Taylor does this very well. What I really like is that it isn’t too silly and yet it is laugh out loud humour. It’s a hearwarming, cheery book with artistic placement of some words, which I enjoyed.
The pages are filled with so much energy, fun. Evie is 16 1/2, milk delivering teenager in 1960s, East of Yorkshire and is full of life. She also has an MG, her dad’s car that is, which she crashed, but is still good humoured. Evie loves the celebrities like Grace Kelly, who she tries to emulate in fashion, but her favourites are Adam Faith (who she wrote 3 times to and sadly he didn’t have the decency to write back. So sad), Shirley MacLaine and Charlotte Bronte. Then there’s The Queen, who she also idolises. She also seems to like Norse mythology and having fun with them. Who she doesn’t like too much and can be a bit scathing of is Christine, her soon to be step-mother and for good reason.
The book is set in Yorkshire. An area of the country I have explored some of and have loved. Evie’s dad has booked a trip to York to visit York Castle Museum ( which I recommend. It’s a place I’ve been to a few times and it never disappoints with its olde streets and ye olde shops inside it and fashions and more) and Betty’s Tearooms (which I recommend you visit. It has a list of teas as long as your arm, perhaps longer and lovely cakes).
In her head she thinks about jobs she might do and can’t decide, but really all she wants is to be an assistant to Adam Faith. Evie is a character you would want to get to know. If she wasn’t a character in a book, you’d want to be friends with her. Her imagination is fabulously fun and pretty accurate for a creative, daydreaming, book reading 16 1/2 year old…
There are some philosophical musings around here and there about life.
The other people readers meet via Evie are amusing in the way that she sees them. There is however a kindness about her too. She has an interest in people who she can actually meet too, such as Mr and Mrs Scott-Pym and how Mr Pym was involved in the Spanish Civil War and was a journalist and realises she knows very little about them. It’s a thought isn’t it? How much do we really know the people in our neighbourhood? Evie learns a lot from her about her family. It’s an emotional tale. The emotions of cheerfulness and sadness are skillfully written by Matson Taylor.
There are sections of just a couple of pages or so called “Interludes” throughout the book, which is an original way of telling other character’s stories. They give little insights of life of Arthur and Mrs Scott-Pym before the 1960s. It works very well because readers then get to see Arthur before having a child and when he met his first wife, Diana. It’s tenderly written. It gives insight into Rosamund Scott-Pym’s life when Caroline, her daughter, was younger, which is interesting.
There’s a triple celebration and what better than to celebrate with cake. Not just any cake though, it may contain some Yorkshire magic and a real need for Christine to eat some, to the point I was hoping she would take a bite. I found myself very firmly on Evie’s side early on.
The village fete is full of fun, cakes and cattle. Matson Taylor pulls off a joyful atmosphere very well.
Evie’s first day of work in a hairdressing salon is when the real world really hits home, it’s funny between her client and herself as there’s plans of subterfuge. Find out what else happens in this amazingly funny book that I highly recommend and if Evie leaves home for London or Leeds.