I heard that this book involved anxiety, but I felt like I had heard mixed things (I don’t remember if I actually did hear mixed things, but that was my frame of mind going into this book), so I didn’t go into it with high expectations. Well, even though this was a slight book that’s more about a family than simply anxiety, I think that made for an amazing story about mental health – and family.
Audrey, at fourteen years old, is a bit younger than the typical YA protagonist I read, but it wasn’t as much of a drawback as I had feared. She was mostly an observer in her own life, and I can see how that plus her young age might make some people struggle to relate to her or find her too juvenile, but it worked for me. She made sense to me, perhaps because I have a similar personality. I liked seeing her remain in the background because that was part of her anxiety – to make her the focus would be disingenuous to her character.
Honestly, I would have prefered no romance at all, but it was understated enough that I didn’t mind it too much. She slowly begins to fall for her brother’s friend, but it’s very important that it’s also a friendship, not simply a romance. There’s some romantic drama later on as well, and I really could have done without that, but that’s really the only problem I had with this book to begin with, so not too bad.
Drama is For Everyone Else
Normally, when you have a book about someone with anxiety or any other mental or physical illnesses, the drama tends to center around them. I mean, they’re the main characters, it should only make sense. But, until the end of the book, I feel like Audrey was more of an observer, as I already mentioned. The drama was about her family, about them figuring things out and her just trying to be a “regular” person. This was so important to me – sometimes, for people with mental illnesses, the hardest thing is getting up in the morning, taking a shower, eating balanced meals, and just acting like a “normal” person. I struggle with elements of it most of the time, for sure, and I’m not still as raw as Audrey. For her, just living her life is drama enough, so it makes sense that the real drama is really happening with her family and she’s trying to hold it all together.
I feel a bit pretentious when I say it, but that doesn’t change the fact that I love dry, British humor. This book is my humor, even when it’s over the top.
This is a nice way of summing it all up: Audrey’s family is such a large part of who she is, so her family is a large part of this book as well. We need to get to know her family to know her, and I loved doing that, just seeing them interacting and fighting and loving each other.
You Should Read This
This was my first book by Sophie Kinsella, but it definitely wasn’t my last – I’m actually reading the second book in her popular Shopaholic series as I finally write this review. I don’t know if anything will stand up to my love of this book, but it just makes one thing completely clear: I need more quiet, lovely books like this that deal with anxiety and other mental health issues that affect everyone and are sometimes as small as learning how to go out in public and talk to non-family members.
Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
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.