Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
|Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Lots of humour and a little bit of heartache in this story of a girl recovering from a mental health breakdown. A breeze to read and very relatable.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: June 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
Audrey has been stuck at home for a while now, ever since that awful business at her last school. It left her suffering from social anxiety disorder and depression. Dr Sarah is impressed with Audrey's progress towards recovery, but Audrey still can't go out of the house, speak to strangers, or even make eye contact with her family. The painfully slow path to wellness is beginning to weight heavily on her. And then her brother's friend Linus shows up and begins to entice Audrey outside of herself again. He has a lovely orange-slice smile and writes funny notes and - to Audrey's disbelief - seems to like her. But Audrey really does need to heed Dr Sarah's warning that recovery is not a smooth progression: it's a series of two steps forward and one step back.
While all this is going on, Audrey's mother goes into battle with Audrey's brother Frank, who is addicted to a role-playing computer game. With every Daily Mail scare story ever written on Audrey's mother's side, this doesn't go well for Frank. It does go well for the reader, however, because this subplot provides some very funny comic relief. Poor Frank!
Will Audrey get better? Will Linus stick with her? And will Frank ever get his computer back?
I did enjoy Finding Audrey. Relatable stories about mental health are really important ones - they can help understanding and reduce feelings of isolation. And Kinsella has a lightness of touch that means her stories are never in danger of feeling self-righteous or overly-worthy.
It's not perfect. The ending is a bit pat. And I think perhaps Audrey's mother is a bit of a caricature. The conflict between her and Audrey's brother Frank over his obsession with computer games veers into slapstick at times. But the point - that Audrey's breakdown has affected her entire family, not just herself, and her mother's enforced isolation from work has led to some over-the-top fixations - is well made. Mental health affects not just the sufferer, but also those around them. And the way in which she slowly begins to understand this is a measure of Audrey's own recovery.
But overall, Finding Audrey is a lovely story. There's a little bit of heartache but also a lot of humour. It deals with mental illness very sensitively and lifts the curtain on those intrusive thoughts we all like to keep concealed. Some of us have more trouble with them than others, that's all. Its messages are realistic but positive. And it's a breeze to read.
I liked Audrey. I liked Frank and Felix and Linus. And by the end, I'd come to like Audrey's mum. I liked Finding Audrey, too.
Lottie Biggs is (Not) Mad by Hayley Long also deals very sensitively with mental health issues.
You can read more book reviews or buy Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella at Amazon.com.
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