by Sophie Kinsella
Published on June 9, 2015
by Delacorte Books
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.My take: Based on prior disappointing experiences with fourteen year-old YA protagonists, I wasn't going to read this. Then I read this review by Cait from Paper Fury, who felt that the book made a joke of Audrey's anxiety. I understand how she feels, as I've also been annoyed, enraged, and disappointed in books that use mental illness and disorders as wacky character quirks rather than real medical conditions that deserve to be taken seriously and treated. (And I was sorry to see that Cait took a lot of online heat for her very reasoned opinions, which is disappointing. It's fine and normal for two readers to disagree on a book, or to have a completely different reading experience.)
But I requested this at the library. At first I wasn't sure about it. Good news: Audrey didn't seem shockingly young to me. Bad news: the humor in this book wasn't really my cup of Earl Gray. I'm more of a dark/wry humor fan and this book has that more cutesy/twee British humor that doesn't always do it for me.
But then Finding Audrey grew on me. There were two main plots, one about Audrey and her attempts to get past her social anxiety, and a more minor plot about Audrey's parents and their worry that Audrey's teenage brother Frank is addicted to his computer. The book does have an overall humorous bent. And to be sure, there's nothing funny about actually suffering from anxiety. (If you have no experience with it, it's like this constant and overwhelming feeling that something terrible is going to happen. There's a small, rational part of your brain that knows this isn't true, but you still feel in complete terror/dread mode. It's exhausting because you have to either a) retreat and hide, as Audrey does or b) expend a lot of mental and/ physical energy trying to pretend you're okay.)
But by the middle of the book, everything began to tie together for me. First, it seemed to me that most of the comic stuff had to do with the computer stuff, not with Audrey. Also, I liked the fact that Audrey was in treatment and enjoyed reading about her sessions with Dr. Sarah. Audrey is doing someting called exposures, in which an anxiety patient is encouraged to (in baby steps) do things that might seem easy to most of us but can be terrifying to someone with anxiety. Things like making a phone call. Going to a Starbucks. Audrey also has trouble with eye contact, so her doctor has her make a documentary, as a way to see and be seen without beeling scrutinized.
I was worried that the romance would feel problematic amidst the anxiety stuff. (No, love does not have magical curative powers.) But I thought that Linus was really supportive of Audrey and her situation.
In conclusion, in some ways this book was younger and and a bit more cute than I prefer, but I enjoyed it.
I am glad you still enjoyed it even though it was a bit younger. I really liked it and thought it was cute. I listened to the audio which I think really added to it actually.ReplyDelete
I bet the audio was good. I didn't mind Audrey being 14 and even forgot about it for most of the book!Delete
I see this around often and never really bothered... This sounds like a nice read. It may not make my top reads but I would like to give it a try :)ReplyDelete
czai @ the Blacksheep Project
I've been meaning to read my copy of this book, but stuff keeps getting in the way. I quite like the wry/dry humour of the Brits, and I've read a few of Kinsella's books so I know what you're talking about. I'm glad you enjoyed it, nonetheless.ReplyDelete
To me the humor was more sweet than dry, but if you've read her books before, you will know what to expect!Delete
Ah, yes, the intrepid Jen, never afraid of trying new books (even those which she suspects won't work for her...:)) Well, great job on that front. Your misgivings are my misgivings too, though I don't expect I'd be courageous enough to go for it regardless of the young age of the targeted audience. Glad it worked out for you in the end, even if only in part.ReplyDelete
I've seen such mixed reviews of this one but it sounds good to me! Great review, I definitely want to read this one!!ReplyDelete
I didn't like it, for similar reasons like Cait. I reviewed it a few days ago on my blog, idk I'm not a fan of this. Kinsella is usually one of my favorite authors, but she should really stick to Chick-Lit. You can clearly tell that not a lot of research went into this, and the protagonist is NOT 14. She acts like a twentysomething. Huge disappointment.ReplyDelete
- Jen from The Bookavid
I wasn't expecting much, having read the author's fluffy adult work, but the reviews I've seen have pleasantly surprised me - it seems the author really dealt with the issue in a sensitive, impressive way. Younger protagonists aren't generally my thing, but I might give this one a go.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you gave it a try and didn't seem as bothered by how she handled the anxiety. And - yes, two people can read the same book and feel differently! It's OK.ReplyDelete
I suffer from anxiety that sounds very similar to what Audrey goes through so I might give it a try.
Karen @For What It's Worth
I have been back and forth on reading this one, and even though different from what you expected, glad to hear you enjoyedReplyDelete
I've read Sophie's Shopaholic series, and they're the light, fun, but frustrating kind of books. But I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I'm not quite sure I have the time to pick this one up, but I'll see! :)ReplyDelete
Sophie Kinsella is a great with adding British humor to her books and making readers smile. I'm so glad she decided to broach the subject of social anxiety and that family seems to play a role in the story too. Lovely review, Jen!ReplyDelete
Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books
I'm glad to know that despite some problems here and there it ended up growing on you, Jen! I'm not sure if I'll still pick this up, though - I'm one of those people who believe disorders should always be handled sensitively. I'll reconsider it in the future though!ReplyDelete
Faye at The Social Potato
I really liked this one, it was nice to read a book about mental illness that wasn't heavy or depressing. I love Sophie Kinsella so I'm used to her humor and I quite love it. I laughed so much during this book and I loved the ending.ReplyDelete
I thought this one was really adorable as well Jen! I loved how it dealt with anxiety but also there was humour in there as well. It definitely didn't make light of her situation.ReplyDelete