Since January, I have kicked off the Ipswich branch of the David Lloyd book club, which meets every last Wednesday of the month at 7.30 in the adults lounge of the gym. I am very proud to be doing this, having been a member of this gym since 2011. I swim almost every day and occasionally take guests to join me.
The first meeting was very lively with a lovely group of 8. We discussed our love of books and reading – a very eclectic mix of tastes, and agreed our first book would be The Mis-education of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor.
‘Evie’ is Matson’s first novel, and since then he has written a great sequel to this entertaining book. I am extremely fortunate to have got to know Matson in person a little, and he was generous enough to join us via zoom, even though he lectures at the V and A and had probably had a very busy day.
The story begins with the diary-like style of Evie, a 16 year old girl on the cusp of womanhood, but very suddenly we are thrust into a slightly quirky world with a surprising incident which made everyone laugh! I won’t do spoilers here – but the world of Evie is teetering on the brink of reality and through the looking glass and although it is funny with allusions to the fairytale, it also manages to convey emotional depth and explores the choices for young women during the 60’s, the strength of the women in the Yorkshire community, and also explores prejudices and emerging freedoms surrounding sexuality in that decade. Matson captures a convincing voice for his heroine and she is captivating.
Having Matson join us for over 40 minutes was thoroughly entertaining and he charmed everyone sufficiently for them to be heading to buy the second book, although we all enjoyed it anyway. It got us all talking all night and reminiscing about our teenage experiences and how things have changed over the decades. Our group has expanded to 12 already, so it was a funny and lively discussion.
Matson reminds us that although Larkin declares ‘Sexual intercourse began in 1963 (which was rather late for me) / Between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles first LP’, the ’60’s’ did not suddenly begin swinging on the 1st January 1960! It took a while to get going in the Yorkshire Dales, apparently!
Thank you so much everyone, especially the author, for making the night fantastic. I’m looking forward to the next club meeting on March 22nd for some lively debate over Matt Haig’s brilliant ‘How to stop Time.’ Now, If I could persuade Mr Haig to join in….