“I’ve often noticed that people equate ‘having a sense of humour’ with ‘being an insufferable moron.” – Finding Audrey.
Welcome you lovely person to my little corner of the internet. It’s not very big but I like it here, and I hope you do too. This is only my second review, but I flipping love them so… enjoy!
I read this book at the perfect time.
Whilst having a tough few weeks with my anxiety and not being able to concentrate on reading anything, (thats the really sucky part of my anxiety, when it gets bad, I can’t read!) I picked up this one. I’d read it when I was around fourteen and it really stayed with me, but reading it as an adult was a completely different experience.
The blurb: Audrey can’t leave her house. She can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house. Then her brothers friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. Audrey learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you…
So many things that Audrey goes through, I’ve actually been through myself. Seeing it mirrored on a page was comforting, scary, and beautiful.
The depiction of mental health in this book is spot on. Down to the subtle feelings Audrey has when she’s having a panic attack. The feeling of wanted to shred her clothing. To just escape and run. Feelings that I can relate to enormously.
What you don’t often see, or at least I’ve not really come across in novels, is how her family reacts to her anxiety.
You have her mother who is over protective and just wants to wrap her up in cotton wool. Her father who doesn’t have a clue, but bless his heart he tries.
Her four-year old brother, who is the only one she can look at and cuddle up with and still feel comfortable.
And, her video game obsessed older brother Frank. This is the relationship that is depicted really well, I’m my opinion.
They’re not close by any means but Frank has a basic understanding of what she’s going through. Some of the casual insensitivity that he portrays is nothing more than a lack of understanding. Saying things like, ‘could you not freak out again,’ or, ‘just calm down,’ unintentionally makes things worse, but you can’t hold that against him. You see how much he tries, and in the end he comes through for her and pulls out the ‘protective older brother’ card, which was a really sweet scene to read.
On a factual level, this book gets a lot of things right. Whether from experience or a hell of a lot of research, you can tell that the author has done her homework. Down to the meds that Audrey takes during a panic attack, to the exposure therapy that her psychologist uses.
The only bit where I feel this book falls short is the ‘love story’ that is supposed to be at the centre of the story. Her relationship with Linus is the thing that starts to pull her out of her shell, but in all honesty I really didn’t like Linus. He was a one-dimensional character whom didn’t seem to overly care about Audrey’s mental state. And, they’re chemistry just fell a little flat.
The final thing that I found interesting about how Sophie Kinsella portrayed this story, is that you never find out what happened to Audrey. You get hints and snippets of the people that were involved, but never the full story. I loved that. Because it’s not about what happened, it’s about how Audrey is recovering and learning to deal with it. I remember feeling annoyed the first time that I read it when you never find out what happened, but when I read it again years later and with a more critical view of it I loved that it never told you, but instead focused on the ‘aftermath’.
As with all books that have a mental health theme to it, I wish they’d put a trigger warning on it, because even though it’s a young adult novel, it does depict scenes of Audrey having panic attacks and talking about traumatic experiences. But as it doesn’t, I’ll put one here instead!
I hope you all liked this review. I’m still figuring out the best way to write these and all my other ‘sparse’ blog posts, but I’m getting there and thanks for reading. It really does mean the absolute world to me.