Review of “Finding Audrey” by Sophie Kinsella

This is a very funny and touching book about a very serious subject.

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Fourteen-year-old Audrey Turner is trying to recover from some sort of vicious bullying (never specified in detail) by other girls at school. She withdrew from school, and still wears sunglasses even around the house, which in any event, she rarely leaves except to see her therapist, Dr. Sarah (a wonderfully-written character). Audrey’s family is quirky and chaotic, but supportive. Still, it seems like an uphill road until a friend of her older brother Frank’s, Linus, tentatively and sensitively reaches out to Audrey. He is able to help her in a way no one else has been able to do, and the whole family finally figures out how to achieve some peace and closure.

Discussion: There is a great deal of humor and absurdity in this wonderful story told in a mix of formats, reminding me a bit of Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple. The parents have their own frustrations, and end up acting out in ways that are well-meaning, if misguided. When Frank announces that members of the Turner family “do not understand the concept of love beyond their own self-serving version” and stalks out of the room, Audrey’s mom says to her dad, “That boy needs a hobby. . . We should never have let him give up the cello.”

Audrey sums up what many kids today think:

“The thing about Mum is, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s just, no adults do. They’re totally ignorant, but they’re in control. It’s nuts.”

I had not previously read any of the books by the very popular author, but I do think that has to change!

Evaluation: This is a delightful and heartwarming story, portraying a difficult coming-of-age theme with humor and compassion, and offering an uplifting look at the powerful effects of loving concern and understanding.

Rating: 4/5

Published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, 2015

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7 Responses to Review of “Finding Audrey” by Sophie Kinsella

  1. Kay says:

    I’m hearing good things about this book and I haven’t read any of Sophie Kinsella’s books either. Have meant to, but you know how that goes. This one seems like a good place to start.

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    After realizing I’m the dissenting voice about this book, I started thinking about why and I think I’ve figured it out. We know someone whose 9th grade daughter threw up at school one day and was so embarrassed she hasn’t been back since. In fact, she’s only left the house to visit doctors. They are trying everything with her and are at their wit’s end. As I started the book, I thought I might pass it on to her, but as I read more, I realized it wouldn’t help her at all. So, I guess I wanted more from the book.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Having read her adult books and found them too silly to read more than 2, I’ve been wary of this one, but I am reading a lot of positive reviews. I was a middle school teacher for 20 years and saw so many different anxieties just cripple children socially and academically.

  4. Heather says:

    I’ve read one of Kinsella’s adult books and while it was pretty silly, it was also funny and extremely entertaining to read, so I definitely want to read this one as it seems like it deals with a heavier topic in a somewhat light way. Even the cover reminds me of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, so I can completely understand why you’d make that comparison!

  5. Belle Wong says:

    This sounds like a good read! I’ve read a few of the Shopaholic books – like Heather says, they were fun, light reads. This one actually sounds more interesting to me than the Shopaholic books.

  6. This one looks good, sounds like one I would enjoy.

  7. I’ve still never read anything by Kinsella — just never had one of her books around when I was in the mood for something as fluffy as what she writes. But it sounds like this is a bit more serious, with the bullying storylines?

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