From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.
After a break of a few books, where I went to Psychological Thrillers and Backstabbing B*tches, I am glad to announce that I had officially gone back into the dark realm of Mental Illness. Except. It’s not really dark anymore.
The author of Finding Audrey, Sophie Kinsella, also happens to be the author of the apparently bestselling Shopaholic Series. So on one hand, you have Chick Lit, and on the other, Mental Illness. It could either go like this:
Or like this:
I am happy to report that it went well. The best part of this book was the humour. It dealt with Audrey’s mental illness (which was Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Desirer and Depressive Episodes by the way) while still being funny and having a light-hearted approach all the way through. I understand how this could be rude, or insensitive, but seriously. People who go and comment “oh this is so rude and insensitive to people who have mental illness, the whole book is a big fat joke, blah blah blah” obviously haven’t read The Fault In Our Stars. Which deals with terminal cancer in a lighthearted way. God, I bow down to Sophie for writing a book about mental illness without being all depressing and tear-jerking. It’s nice to read something lighthearted, but still serious once in a while.
For some reason, before I read this book, I thought that it would be about a missing girl, and the journey to find her. I don’t know why, and I can’t find a blurb that says that, but for some reason I though that. So here’s a heads up. “Finding Audrey” is a completely metaphorical title. Audrey “finds” her old self through help from her boyfriend, family, psychologist, etc. Her boyfriend, family, psychologist, etc, don’t actually have to hire detectives, follow blood trails, measure mysterious footprints in the sand, etc. It’s not that kind of book. So yeah, just getting that out of the way.
One of the main problems I thought that I would have with this book is that it would be a love-solves-all book. And I guess, although the love definitely played a part in Audrey’s recovery, it wasn’t really big enough for me to complain about. Every step that Audrey took towards her recovery, pushing herself to talk to strangers, going out of the house, getting a phone, etc, was suggested by Linus, but was never actually driven by him. It was more effort on behalf of Audrey. However, I still can’t decide whether it would be natural for Linus to act like a psychologist and push Audrey out of her comfort zone like that. He suggested that she take steps towards her recovery, like foot touching (she used to find it extremely hard to touch other people), and suggesting that they meet at Starbucks rather than simply at her house. I guess I’ll just leave this it you to judge for yourself.
Let’s go to characters. Audrey herself. Audrey was an interesting character, as she took her mental illness quite sarcastically, and always with what came to be her trademark dry wit. Whenever she would have one of her episodes, the reader was really taken straight into her mind. The writing became quick and jagged, short sharp sentences, and you could almost hear her breathing speed up through the pages of the book.
However. There was one character that I thought was even more interesting than Audrey (not to say that Audrey isn’t interesting!) and that was Audrey’s mum. Anne Turner, you never fail to make me laugh. I mean, it starts off with her mum holding a “£700” computer out the window, getting ready to drop it. And OMG her obsession with the Daily Mail was so funny. Her personality was so colourful, and vibrant, it shone through the pages and she seemed really real.
Although we were never really given a reason for Audrey’s illness (there were subtle hints dropped all throughout the book but we were never really told outright), I found that I didn’t really need a reason for her illness. There were so many things going on, that I didn’t feel the need for a backstory. And anyway, the small hints that we were given were enough for the reader to make their own assumption, and I liked this more than if we were to be told outright, because it allowed the reader to have some control over the book.
So, all in all, summed up in three words: “Funny”, “Serious”, “Inspirational”. Here’s a quote before I leave you:
I think what I’ve realised is, life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. And it doesn’t matter if you slip down. As long as you’re kind of heading more or less upwards. That’s all you can hope for. More or less upwards.
Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆ 9/10
Finding Audrey is out now. Buy at your local bookstore.
- Title: Finding Audrey
- Author: Sophie Kinsella
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Press (June 9, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553536516
- URL: Amazon, Goodreads, Author Website