On a beach in California, Lisa finds a shell on a rock, its two halves open to the sky. On the outside it is sea-worn and unremarkable, but on the inside it gleams like a jewel. She wonders if it is waiting to be found and cherished – like her.
The shell is the image she uses to set up an online profile that will end her marriage. It leads her to more beaches around the world – to Kenya, Thailand, Turkey, Egypt and India – in search of the freedom to choose how she wants to live. On a beach in Goa, she confronts the grief that she’s been numbing with alcohol, and finds a way to break the lock on a secret she’s been keeping inside her since she was a little girl.
For fans of Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Lisa Edwards’ story is about the search for a life beyond the one prescribed for women: marriage, babies and a high-flying career. Childfree-by-choice, she is determined to fly solo, going on holidays on her own, as well as to restaurants, bars and even clubs. But grieving for her parents, she begins to depend on the anaesthetic that alcohol gives her and it steers her life in unexpected ways. During the course of her journey she dates married men, younger men, men her own age and Muslim men, but none of them are prepared to give her her freedom. In India, she discovers yoga and a tribe of women who show her a new path, breaking the lock on the secret she’s been keeping inside her since she was a little girl.
Cheat Play Live by Lisa Edward’s is the story of her journey to self acceptance and a life lived on her terms, rejecting a loveless marriage and negative, self destructive relationships.
The story the author tells is both candid and emotional, detailing her battle against reliance on alcohol and negative sexual relationships following childhood trauma and professional pressures in the highly competitive world of publishing. What it then becomes is a story about a life, a journey, based on her terms and not societies expectations of an intelligent, single women.
Lisa Edwards story is not always an easy read, it is hard to bear witness to her decent into what felt to me a pattern of self harming to relive the relentless pressure she was under, at home to be the perfect contented wife and at work to the ultimate professional. You are party to some quite intense periods of the author detailing how destructive her life was, before seeking help and opening herself up to the potential of a life lived on her own terms. Free to love how she chooses, free to create a career that speaks to all that she is, not just those parts of her personality others seek to monopolize.
Part autobiography, part motivational message to other women in a similar situation, it’s power lies in the honesty of her writing and commitment to telling her story. Lisa Edwards lays bare her personal breakthroughs and the changes that have happened in her life, not just as a form of self healing, but a call to others that you don’t have to conform to societies expectations to be happy.
It is not an easy thing to do, but her self awareness adds a sense of sincerity to her writing, giving it emotional depth often lacking from other similar books. It is her bravery in letting us into her story that makes Cheat Play Live the powerful story it is! Not editing the often painful events from her life, to protect others and herself, was a brave thing for the author to do. True to herself and the life she has lived, it is inspiring. Her intelligence draws you into the story, her emotional honesty keeps you reading and makes this book a must read.
You can purchase this book from Amazon
About the author
Lisa Edwards is a former publisher who is now a freelance writer, editor, agent and yoga teacher. She grew up in North Wales, but has lived mostly in southeast England. She lives in Worthing, West Sussex, where she lives alone and walks by the sea every day. She splits her time between the UK and India.
You can follow the author on Twitter