Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Finding Audrey - Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey
Sophie Kinsella
Delacorte Press

Young Adult
After some bad stuff happened at school, and after spending six weeks as an in-patient, 14-year-old Audrey Turner is home.  She’ll sit out the rest of the spring term, then start in the fall.  At a new school, of course.  There’s no way she could go back.  She’s getting better, bit by bit.  She’s been left with paralyzing anxiety and depression.  To help shield herself from the world, she wears dark glasses everywhere.  Inside or outside, rain or shine.  It’s her way of coping.  Eyes have a lot of power.
Audrey is the narrator of her own story, and doesn’t want to give too many details up front.  She’s got an older brother, Frank, and a 4-year-old brother, Felix.  Audrey can talk to them and her parents.  But she still needs the dark glasses.  As part of her recovery, her therapist suggests making a film.  It would be about her family to start, then widen to include ‘outside’ people.  The theory is that it might be easier to look at and talk to people through the camera lens.  Audrey’s not sold, but she’s willing to give it a try.  She’d very much like to be normal.  Especially for Linus, one of her brother’s friends.  Linus doesn’t treat her like a mental case.  And she saw him play Atticus Finch in the play last term, and thought he was great.  She still thinks he’s great.
It might seem that Audrey’s world would be tiny and confined, trapped in the house all the time.  But the truth is, her thoughts and worries take up a lot of her time.  Her story never feels small, just personal.  As she continues filming, we learn more about each member of her family.  There’s her Mum, who takes the Daily Mail newspaper as absolute truth, believing everything in it, and modifying the family’s habits to suit the latest story.  Which often contradicts the last story, so it can be tiring.  Her Dad is the nice, affable guy who used to be in a band and now does accounts.  Her brother Frank, dedicated to computer gaming (too bad, since the Daily Mail just listed the signs of computer game addiction and now Mum is convinced that computers are evil.)  And Felix, who is loved by everyone and leads such a simple, innocent little life.
Her film widens a bit, to include Linus, who is the boy every girl wants to meet.  Nice, understanding, and handsome.  When Audrey is too shy to speak to him, he writes her notes.  It’s an amazingly sweet solution that makes the problem seem like nothing.  Audrey so wants to be well; to be through this whole thing.  While she works through it, she comes to realize that her parents, especially her Mum, have a life apart from the house and the kids.  It’s a revelation most teenagers make, and it makes the story that much deeper.  You can read this as a love story; or you can read this as a family comedy/drama; or you can read it as a recovery story.  It’s all those things, and the ending feels real and earned.  I really like Audrey and loved her story.
Rating: 8
June 2015
ISBN# 978-0-553-53651-5 (hardcover)


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