Sophie Kinsella is back with a new novel which is quite different than her Shopaholic series. 'Finding Audrey' is a novel about Audrey who has social anxiety disorder combined with depressive episodes. It's her story which involves her family and her new found love, Linus. It's more about finding semblance within the family rather than finding Audrey. It's an easy read without having to think much. It's not depressing or dull. In fact, it has light humour and light romance and some insanity. If you're looking forward to some relaxed reading, Sophie Kinsella is your person and 'Finding Audrey' is your book. I've rated it at three stars on Goodreads.
Audrey suffers from social anxiety disorder and finds it impossible to talk to people. She always wears dark glasses as she can't handle eye contact. And she keeps twisting her fingers and shredding her clothes. Which I suppose people having such a disorder may do. She loves her family and always supports her brother Frank. She is quite a funny girl who takes up challenges. She knows her capabilities and always pushes herself harder.
Frank (Audrey's brother) is a gamer who can go to any limits to play his favourite online game; Land of Conquerors. He is that typical teenage boy who is addicted to violent games, loud music and junk food. But, he's a great brother to Audrey.
Linus (Audrey's boyfriend) is the most affectionate and compassionate person. He gets to know Audrey by taking tiny steps which I found rather cute. He is a kind hearted person who loves Audrey and cares a lot about her.
Anne (Audrey's mother) seems quite a lot like a restricting mother who is ignored by everyone. She implements everything that appears in The Daily Mail. She just wants her family to be healthy and to live a long life. She used to be a brand consultant and quite good at her job. Chris (Audrey's father) is a long tempered man who never pays any attention to his wife's rants. He's always busy in his Blackberry. Felix (Audrey's 4-year-old brother) is the cutest little person in the novel. He's a walking teddy bear whom I just felt like hugging.
I'm just going to mention the story in short because it's a simple story with not many surprises. When Audrey first sees Linus, she runs away and freaks out. Over time, they become friends and they touch each other shoe to shoes. By that time, Frank gets a 10 days ban from computer. So, Linus doesn't show up for those days as he is Frank's LOC partner. Meanwhile, Dr. Sarah asks Audrey to do certain projects; like filming, going to Starbucks and talking to people outside the family. Audrey starts filming a film which she names, 'My Serene and Loving Family'. Soon, she gets a phone to fasten up the story between her and Linus. They meet at Starbucks. That was the time she goes out of her home after a long time. She manages it but then it becomes too much for her and her lizard brain strikes. Soon, it's revealed that Frank played at night for 4 hours during his ban which angers their mom. So she throws the computer out of the window. Literally! Frank becomes silent after that. Audrey starts getting a lot better. Soon, Frank finds an interest in cooking. Audrey understands about Izzie. Bullying by Tasha, Izzie and others was the reason for Audrey's condition. She decides to meet her without her parents' knowledge. It's all normal until the time it isn't. As she arrives home, she messages Linus but doesn't hear back. She goes for a walk in the middle of the night. Then, the next day she's found missing only for like a few pages. When she's found, suddenly everything goes back to normal. Frank is allowed to play within reasonable hours. Audrey takes off her dark glasses and understands that life is actually a jagged graph. Their mom probably may commence her work. Things are great between Audrey and Linus. And it's a happy ending.
When I first heard about this novel, I was excited to read it. I thought it will be Audrey's brave journey wherein she will explore and learn. But it wasn't quite so. I haven't read a more simplistic and predictable story. I liked some parts. Firstly, I loved that moment between Audrey and Felix where she takes off her glasses. It was so pure and child-like that it touched my heart. I liked Frank's justification of learning from games. Like learning history from Assassin's Creed. I loved the concept 'Mid-Sentence Stop'. I found it to be hilariously true. I loved the cute nicknames the two gave each other; Rhubarb and Orange Slice.
On a literary note, I felt it sent a message of the effects of bullying. Even though it wasn't highlighted anywhere. Secondly, we must show compassion about people with disorders. Not everything is a joke. Thirdly, our life is many events of ups and downs. There can never be a constant straight line. So, we should live with hope and be brave, come what may.