OMG, Mum’s gone insane. Not normal Mum-insane. Serious insane. Normal Mum-insane: Mum says, ‘Let’s all do this great gluten-free diet I read about in the Daily Mail!’ Mum buys three loaves of gluten-free bread. It’s so disgusting our mouths curl up. The family goes on strike and Mum hides her sandwich in the flowerbed and next week we’re not gluten free any more. That’s normal Mum-insane. But this is serious insane.
Published: June 9th 2015, Delacorte Books
Finally I got out of my reading slump. Thank god for that. The awesome book that did the trick was none other than Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella.
The book, as the title suggests, is about a fourteen year old Audrey who is suffering from social anxiety and depression. Her condition got to the point where she needs to wear sunglasses all the time, because eye contact is too much for her. It is a coming of age story, dealing with mental illness with such easy and fluffiness that no one can resist.
What I loved most about the book is the way the family life is depicted. Audrey’s family is super supportive of all her therapies and recovery. You can simply feel the love pouring out of the pages. Each family member deals with the situation in a different way, but they are all coping. The mum seems to be obsessed with banning Audrey’s older brother Frank from playing computer games, the Dad seems to be always on the mum’s side, and Frank is, as any teenage boy, addicted to computer games. My favorite though is Felix, Audrey’s little brother, he is just so cute and loveable.
The book deals with quite a heavy topic in such a special way. The depiction of anxiety is extremely accurate, yet it is not described as depressing or sad. You get to feel for Audrey, and understand how difficult it is for her, but you do not feel sorry for her. Portraying mental illnesses in books can be hard, it is not an easy topic, but Sophie Kinsella found a way to talk about it, but in a light-hearted and fresh way.
We get to fall in love with Audrey and all her family, and Linus of course. Oh Linus he is such a cute dork. I loved that he did not push Audrey to talking to him, and simply adopted a different way of communication, sending little notes. The fact that it was actual notes and not text messages is simply brilliant, in the modern world it is nice to see people communicating without phones and technology. But it only begins with the notes. The fact that Linus asks the ice cream guy at the local park to order Audrey’s favorite flavor just for her is simply adorable, and if someone was not persuaded to love Linus by now, this scene will seal the deal. And Audrey’s favorite flavor is coconut, which happens to be a flavor that my close friend B enjoys.
We do learn that Audrey’s anxiety comes from her being bullied at school, but we do not learn more than that. There is one scene where Audrey meets one of the girls that bullied her, but they do not talk explicitly about what actually happened. At first after finishing the book I felt like I was deprived of something, but the longer I am thinking about it I feel like it is not quite necessary for us to know. And most of the times when dealing with bullying it is better to just get past it and not talk about it, focusing on future not the past.
My only problem with Finding Audrey was the slow paste in the first half of the book, it seemed like nothing was really happening. Then the end was too fast for me, but I guess it is the same with dealing with mental illness, some days it goes fast and some days it drags on. Over all I think that anyone can enjoy this book, whether you are looking for a book dealing with anxiety, or simply a cute contemporary, you will definitely find both in Finding Audrey.
If you are looking for some other books dealing with mental illness I highly recommend It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, it is not quite as light-hearted as Finding Audrey, dealing with a suicidal Craig who, upon his request, gets admitted to a hospital. Both characters, Audrey and Craig, find closure and love at the end. Other book I love that deals with mental illness is Smart by Kim Slater, where the main character Kieran, an autistic boy, gets to solve a crime and it is super adorable. My last recommendation is The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filler. This one is quite depressing but extremely beautiful nonetheless.
See you later my chums!