Finding Audrey is the perfect example of how prejudice works: Sophie Kinsella is mostly known for her Shopaholic series of chick-lit novels which by their description alone appeal to me just as much as root canal treatment. So, to persuade me to take a chance on this book, it has taken several great reviews from reader friends, a free copy off the library shelves, and a sample chapter right there and then at the library.
Fortunately for the book, it started with one of the funniest scenes I had read in a while: mother is threatening to throw her son’s computer out of the window.
As the story unfolds, we learn that her son’s computer addiction is not the only difficulty that Audrey’s parents have to deal with – there is also Audrey’s anxiety disorder. While it sounds like a drab story of parents living in teenage hell, the story is actually narrated by Audrey, who, tho reclusive, sets out to explore her surroundings and find herself after a traumatic experience left her in hiding.
It may be the author’s “chick-lit” background that gave her an advantage in making light of what is a difficult subject, but it really works. As we follow Audrey, we discover a backstory that is at points difficult to read, especially when reading at an age that may afford (slightly) more wisdom on how to deal with difficult situations. I say may afford, because even tho this book was written for a YA readership (yes, another genre I try to avoid), Kinsella’s approach to telling Audrey’s story also holds a few aspects for older readers to ponder about – such as issues relating to schemes that try to reconcile victims with offenders by letting them meet face to face; or the uses of medication in PTSD.
In short, I would not have believed it, but Finding Audrey was a thoughtful and thought-provoking read, and while I am probably not going to read the Shopaholic series (ever), I have no issues recommending this one to friends and fellow readers.