Finding Audrey by Sophia Kinsella
I really enjoyed this book by Sophie Kinsella. I’ve only read one of her other works, The Undomestic Goddess, and I remember loving it. It’s no different here. Finding Audrey was witty, dynamic, and brought some important things to light. It may have its flaws, but nothing is perfect. This book is really pushing me to read Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, even though that genre isn’t really my style. Both times, I’ve been impressed with Kinsella’s writing and characters, and considering I read The Undomestic Goddess over three years ago, I think that really says something.
I was genuinely impressed with Kinsella’s writing and her style. It felt so genuine and effortless, like she doesn’t even break a sweat doing it. It was interesting and entertaining, and I found myself becoming even more hooked with each passing sentence. I can see why her Shopaholic series is so popular. I was actually quite sad when I finished Finding Audrey, because I wanted more. I wanted more of the elaborate characters, more of Kinsella’s funny descriptions, and more of the effortless writing. I also love how Kinsella added Audrey’s “video recordings” by writing them in a screenplay format. It was so different, and added another perspective to the story that was fun by giving us these snapshots that Audrey otherwise may not have described. I really enjoyed Kinsella’s writing and if you like her other books, you should really give this one a shot. I don’t think you will regret it.
Okay, so this is where things get a little bumpy for me, as I have some issues with part of the plot. I’ll start with aspects that I liked, as there were some positives. I really enjoyed the subplot between Frank, Audrey’s brother, and their mother over video games. There was such a realistic dynamic between the two characters, and the situation seemed so true to life it was laughable. This whole subplot was wildly entertaining, partly because I’ve heard of mothers that act similarly to their Audrey’s did when it comes to video games and technology, and partly because Frank is the epitome of 15 year old boys that are obsessed with video games; I knew so many boys in high school who were exactly like him, and would play for 10 hours a day. This realistic factor made the relationship between Frank and his mother even more entertaining, since I knew it could perfectly well happen in real life.
But, now I must sadly look at the negative parts of the plot, and I think there’s one that’s a doozy: Audrey and Linus’s relationship. Now before I get hated on, just let me say that not all of their relationship was a negative aspect. I found it very cute and was happy that Audrey, a girl suffering from severe anxiety and depression, found love. I’m happy Kinsella portrayed this message that anybody can be loved, no matter how bad it is. Where I have a problem with their relationship is the fact that Kinsella also gives the message that Linus “fixes” Audrey’s mental illness – something that really isn’t possible. Nobody, no matter how much they love you or you love them, can cure or fix your mental illness. They may make you feel so much happier and live life fuller, but they cannot remove the chemical imbalance in your brain just magically. Only through yourself, professional help, and meds (depending on the person) can help you. This is going to sound really sad, but I have to be the realist here: you can never depend on someone for your own happiness or hope they will fix you, as it’s not very realistic. At the end of the day, no one but yourself can really help you or push you to get better. I speak from experience. There is no hero or heroine to magically cure you; I wish it was that easy. This does not mean you can’t love or be loved, or your SO can’t support you towards getting better – you just can’t depend on someone else to make you better. And really, that’s what Audrey does. When her and Linus get into their huge fight, she relapses and almost all of her progress goes down the drain. I really felt for her, and I do wish Kinsella had not made her so dependable on Linus. I also just want to say that their relationship felt much older than 14 & 15 years old. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it was just the vibe I got through Kinsella’s writing.
I really liked the whole cast of characters Kinsella created. I found they were all so different from each other, and all worked together really well. I really liked Audrey’s parents, and how they seemed like complete opposites but meshed perfectly together. Audrey’s mom with all her funny quirks and ideas was hilarious and seemed very real, with her whole “well because I said so” reasoning, and her spying on Frank to see if he was playing video games. The only negative was that I don’t think we really got to see a relationship between Audrey and her mom, other than a couple of times in the book. I would have liked to see that develop more. Audrey’s dad also seemed pretty real, and very, well, dad-like. He provided some nice comedic relief in some of the tenser parts of the book.
Audrey: Overall, I enjoyed reading about Audrey, and I really wanted her to succeed in recovering and getting with Linus. I thought her voice was unique, and sounded very much like a young teen girl dealing with anxiety and depression, and just trying to get through life. While she didn’t always provide dialogue in scenes and was much more of an observer, Kinsella made me care about her character by making her seem very genuine. I cared about Audrey’s issues and challenges, and I was rooting for her even when she made rash decisions. She went through nice character development by realizing that those who hurt her are not worth her time, and to always believe in herself and challenge her fears. She had her flaws, like believing she needed Linus to fix herself. I think Kinsella did a good job of creating a well rounded character. 10/10 to her.
Frank: Frank was a fairly large part of the story, so I think it’s fitting to write a bit about him. I enjoyed reading about him; from his sarcasm and smart-ass comments, to his modern-thinking dreams (world championships for Land of Conquerors in Toronto anyone?), he was such a teenage boy. I loved him for these things, and I loved him even more when he really stepped up and supported Audrey in facing her enemies. He earned a gold star for that one. I did enjoy his development of learning there are other career options outside of video games, even if it is up and coming.
Linus: Linus was an interesting character. I enjoyed his character, and I appreciate how Kinsella wrote him, despite the idea that he “fixed” Audrey. I think it was great how he looked part Audrey’s defence system and wanted to get to know her despite all of the rumours he had heard. I also thought that it was somewhat beneficial that his character pushed Audrey out of her comfort zone. It was nice to see that he cared about her so deeply, and really wanted the best for her. I wouldn’t say he had a large amount of character development, other than that he can’t control other people’s choices about their life, such as when Audrey went to meet one of the girls that bullied her. Overall, he was a good secondary character, and I think he fit well into the story.
I really recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a fun, quick read, and doesn’t mind the discussion of deeper issues evolving. I really like Sophie Kinsella, and I will definitely be reading more of her work in the near future. Let me know if you’ve read Finding Audrey, and what you thought! I really love to have discussions about books, as you know, so comment your thoughts. That’s all for now friends.