C.G. Drews's Reviews > Finding Audrey

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
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did not like it
bookshelves: contemporary, mental-illness, read-2015, young-adult

*** EDIT**** If you don't agree with my opinions on this review, you don't have to comment and tell me I'm wrong. JUST SAYIN'. My opinion isn't going to change.

I want to be very clear about something, though: I didn't finish this book because of ME. It's a book that makes me uncomfortable and unhappy. But that's just me. It's totally a case of "it's you, not me." So YEAH. I don't believe in reading books that make me awfully unhappy. I DNF'd this at 100-pages.

This is a book about social anxiety...written in the most insensitive way EVER. It's a joke. The entire book is a joke. I don't know about you, but I can't do that! I can't read a book that mixes something so devastatingly destroying as mental illness with funky writing. As someone with social anxiety, I just feel this book portrayed it as a joke. It is not a joke.

This is what went really wrong for me in the 100-pages I read:

+ The mother is INSANE. Like, kooky har-har-let's-all-laugh-at-the-mother insane. Not okay. We're mixing a real mental illness (Audrey's anxiety) with the mother's kookiness...for a laugh? I couldn't. I JUST COULDN'T. The mother has this huge vendetta against the older brother, Frank's, computer games. No reason. She just is obsessed with making him not play computer games. And I don't mean off-handedly worried I mean, FREAKING OBSESSED. To the point where the parents go out on a "date" and tell Frank he can't play computer games...but secretly the mother is like peering in the window to make sure he doesn't. She falls into a rose bush. Omg, isn't this funny. NO IT IS NOT. Her obsession disturbed me so so much.
+ Audrey's weird infatuation with Linus. It has a huge case of insta-love. I also think it misses the point that social anxiety is social. Sure people with SAD (Social anxiety disorder) can have crushes, fall in love, get married, everything! But don't forget that your brain is attacking itself and other people are always a threat. I failed to see how this can just be negated by insta-love after seeing someone a few times. (Plus for the level of SAD Audrey "appears" to have, I feel like a relationship would've made her worse. I seriously hope the book didn't do the "magic cure" with a relationship. But I don't know since I didn't finish it because the whole thing made me sick with it's gross misrepresentation.)

So as long as you know this is a COMEDY wrapped up with mental illness...you should be okay. I, however, am not. (And seriously, I hate DNF'ing...it makes me twitchy to have unfinished books lying around. So this is a big deal for me.) I think this subject is just too close to home for me laugh at it.

If you're looking for books that deal with anxiety in a realistic and heartbreaking and perfect way, and don't mock it at all, can I recommend: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B and The Rest of Us Just Live Here.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 25, 2015 – Shelved
May 25, 2015 – Shelved as: contemporary
May 25, 2015 – Shelved as: mental-illness
May 25, 2015 – Shelved as: read-2015
May 25, 2015 – Shelved as: young-adult
May 25, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 102 (102 new)

Kyra (Blog of a Bookaholic) Oh gosh, I'm currently reading this! Sorry you didn't enjoy it, Cait! I'll let you know what I think once I finish!

message 2: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Yikes! Sorry it was traumatic.

Aisha (seetheworldwithbooks) too bad you dont like this book. Lol. The blurb seems fine. I dont know wheather i'll like it or not, but i will give it a try since it's written by Sophie Kinsella :P

Aisha (seetheworldwithbooks) p.s Nice review anyway :)

message 5: by La Coccinelle (new)

La Coccinelle I don't know if I agree about the attraction bit; there probably are people out there who have anxiety disorder and are also attracted to someone. That would probably exacerbate the problem, though!

But I totally get what you're saying about being uncomfortable with the way certain issues were handled in this book. That's why I can't read books about OCD, and why even just hearing someone flippantly say, "I'm so OCD!" makes me kind of ragey. It's hard to see an issue you struggle with handled badly... or not taken seriously at all.

message 6: by Becky (new) - added it

Becky (Blogs of a Bookaholic) This sounds like it would irritate me to hell and back, NOT OKAY.

message 7: by C.G. (new) - rated it 1 star

C.G. Drews @Kyra: I hope you like it! I'm like 99% positive it's just me. >_<

@Lydia: I AM NOT OKAY.

@Rahma: If you're a fan of Sophie Kinsella, then you'll probably love it! I hadn't read anything from her before, so...yeah.

message 8: by C.G. (new) - rated it 1 star

C.G. Drews @La Coccinelle: Oh I didn't mean that someone with serious anxiety WOULDN'T be attracted to people. Of course they are! Yes! I just think it's so not the forefront of things and the attraction would make you absolutely sick more than be a good thing. But *shrugs* everybody's journeys are different too.

@Becky: Hehe, thanks. You make me feel a bit better about my rant here. XD

message 9: by Cathy (new) - added it

Cathy It seems so unlike her usual books I'm not sure what to think? Her books are usually so funny though :/

message 10: by Paige (new)

Paige I'll be avoiding this one for sure. Thanks for the heads up!

message 11: by Annie (new)

Annie I thought the exact same. I cannot take mental illness, especially anxiety, lightly at all and I felt like it just brushes over it and treats it as a joke and just 'another problem in life'. I did finish the book and thought it would be good for someone who likes a light read but nope, definitely was not for me!

message 12: by C.G. (new) - rated it 1 star

C.G. Drews @The Book Cube: YOU AND ME BOTH, MY FRIEND.

message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura I read one page of this and came to the same conclusion, so many writers seem to want to do issue books about mental illness and some do it well like Mark Haddon but some do it for cheap comic laughs. It's actually really hard to walk that line and be respectful to your audience and this author doesn't do that. I feel she's part of the problem and not the solution.

message 14: by C.G. (new) - rated it 1 star

C.G. Drews @Laura: Omg, I couldn't agree with you more. I don't feel like Mental Illness is a topic that can be mocked like this...and also it downplays the severity and makes it like a joke, which then makes readers not understand, so GAH. It's a vicious cycle. (Mark Haddon is amazing.)

message 15: by Annie (new)

Annie I'm happy to know I'm not the only one thinking this!

message 16: by Andrea (last edited Jun 10, 2015 11:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrea C I haven't finished this book, but I'm pretty far in. I personally can't see what you're all claiming is Kinsella making a "joke" out of mental illnesses. I've dealt with social anxiety (granted, not as bad as hers) my whole life. My boyfriend has always had bad anxiety problems. My best friend has depression and also suffers from anxiety. I'm not new to mental illnesses. I'm not bothered by this book in any way, shape or form. I understand that we're always going to see things differently, but I want to know how she's making a "joke" out of mental illness? The book is meant to be lighthearted and funny. Not every book about mental illness has to be written in a very dark and serious way.

"I was freaked, let alone poor Audrey who has SAD (social anxiety disorder). The therapist seemed to be rushing her along on this mental health plan like wildfire"

Therapists sometimes need to give a little push. Otherwise their patients will forever stay in their comfort zone and possibly worsen.

"The mother has this huge vendetta against the older brother, Frank's, computer games. No reason. She just is obsessed with making him not play computer games"

First, it's made clear from the beginning of the book that the mother is intense. And there IS a reason for why their mother is obsessed with making him stop playing computer games. I've known plenty of mothers who overreact in such a way. Hell, my mother used to be like that because I'd be on the computer 24/7. She'd enforce some pretty strict measures. She was just worried that I wouldn't live a normal life. That everyone else is out there doing things with their life and I'm not. It's an old way of thinking. They weren't born in this age where technology is everything. Then eventually they realize they were overreacting. But either way, she HAD a reason and it's not unheard of for mothers to do that.

This book is NOT mocking mental illnesses. And again, not every book, movie, song, or game has to treat mental illnesses only as this very dark and sad thing. And this is coming from someone who has experienced this. If it makes you feel uncomfortable then by all means don't read it. But you went from "I DIDN'T READ IT BECAUSE IT MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE" to really grasping at straws.

message 17: by C.G. (last edited Sep 10, 2015 03:03PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

C.G. Drews @Andrea: we're all entitled to our own opinions. If you loved this book: that is great. Good for you. But you don't have to run down my review like this, okay? I think this book IS a mockery and I'm 100% entitled to my opinion.

message 18: by Martha (new)

Martha @Cait I couldn't agree more--there are some issues that just touch too close to home to mix with comedy. I tried to read a book once that was basically mixing comedy with an eating disorder and I was like "nope". I'm sure someone else would have found it light and funny but I couldn't get into it.

message 19: by C.G. (new) - rated it 1 star

C.G. Drews @Martha: I totally know where you're coming from!! Maybe for some people it's funny...but me? I CANNOT.

message 20: by Annie (new)

Annie @Andrea quite clearly we are expressing our own opinions on this book, on @Cait review because we all think the same way about the book. We have our own opinions just as you have yours. If you think the book doesn't mock mental illness then so be it, I wouldn't go telling you that what you think is wrong. We express our opinions on here to see what each other think and if you don't have the ability to see others' opinions as valid just because they aren't the same yours, then you shouldn't be commenting on here at all.

Andrea C But here's the thing, I never said you couldn't have an opinion about the book. You commented with your arguments about why you think the book is mediocre and I replied with points arguing against your points. This is how arguing or having a conversation works. I didn't say you couldn't share your thoughts on the book. You comment on a thread you're going to get people with differing opinions. If you don't want anyone to ask you questions or reply to you, then don't post anything. I am entitled to disagree with you and tell you as such, just like you're entitled to share your thoughts on this book. Your last comment showed a lot of immaturity on your part.

Andrea C @TheBookCube

So she's allowed to voice how this book is "mediocre" but I'm not allowed to argue about why I disagree? Oh. Okay. Makes total sense.
I was asking her to explain what about it made it seem like Kinsella was making a mockery out of mental illnesses. I wasn't harrassing or insulting. Merely trying to understand. But according to you if I don't see it the way she does I should just leave it at that and go. Maybe we should all do that so we never try and understand others point of view.

message 23: by Annie (new)

Annie @Andrea see you obviously didn't read my comment and see how I said you're entitled to your opinion just as much as I'm entitled to mine? Immaturity comes from people like you who just like to stir things up and say that our thoughts are wrong.

Andrea C I read your comment. But if I'm entitled to my opinion then I don't see what was the point of your comment. I was met with quite a bit of hostility merely for pointing out why I disagree and wanted to know HOW this book was making a mockery out of the issues it touxhes on. I'll leave it at that. Goodbye.

message 25: by Annie (new)

Annie @Andrea you were basically saying our reviews were wrong and that's why my comment matters

message 26: by C.G. (new) - rated it 1 star

C.G. Drews @The Book Cube: Thanks for your comments! I appreciate it. :')

@Andrea: There's no real point in asking me to defend my review with "why did I say that" questions because a) I wrote a review and so all I have to say is IN the review, and b) you're not going to change your mind. Same as I'm not going to change mine. So that's cool. Right? And also, you're totally allowed to disagree, but what I'm saying is: do you need to do it on my review? If you wouldn't come up and tell me all that stuff to my face, then don't put it in a comment.

Jeann (Happy Indulgence) Wow Cait, I totally know what you mean now on Twitter! I was so curious about your point of view on this book I had to search it out. I definitely think mental illness needs to be handled with care, it's a very difficult thing to strike a balance between humour and in a seriousness, it's not a laughing matter. Good on you for putting yourself out there and sticking to your guns love <3

message 28: by C.G. (new) - rated it 1 star

C.G. Drews @Jeann: THANK YOU. XD I appreciate opposing views! I totally do! But one can disagree...calmly and not passive-aggressively, I guess? I hope. So glad you enjoyed this book though. :)

message 29: by La La (last edited Jun 12, 2015 05:57AM) (new)

La La This is almost the way I felt schizophrenia was handled in Made You Up. I felt it was used as a gimmick and not as social enlightenment. I based my opinion on having tutored someone suffering with the illness in college and having someone else in most of my music classes. I was going to write an explanation of my bad rating for it, but now that I see this uproar, I am afraid, very afraid. I totally get your point about the insensitivity. Stories about mental illnesses can be light without being disrespectful, or misrepresenting issues for the sake of the story.

And now I want to read this book to see how I feel!

message 30: by La La (new)

La La Cait Grace wrote: "@The Book Cube: Thanks for your comments! I appreciate it. :')

@Andrea: There's no real point in asking me to defend my review with "why did I say that" questions because a) I wrote a review and s..."

@Andrea: There are ways to disagree with people without making them feel attacked.

message 31: by Megz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Megz I'm reading this at the moment and although I'm not having the same problem with it, I can totally see where you're coming from. Don't think it's for everyone.

message 32: by Jen (new)

Jen Miller Will be avoiding this one, thanks! I have serious anxiety and any hint of making light of it would make me really angry!

Beth (fuelled by fiction) I agree with many of the points made in @Andrea's original comment. Not to say that you're not entitled to your opinion @Cait or that your review is in any way wrong! I love seeing what other people think! And having conversations!

I have struggled with the same things as Audrey, though not quite as extreme. I actually enjoyed the light tone of the book. It reminded me that although I can have the awful thing looming over me sometimes, that's not the only thing happening in my life. There can be light spots too. In my own experiences with counselling, Dr Sarah's approach was similar to my counsellor's. Honestly, if she hadn't pushed me, I would still be a mess.

The mother. She is definitely pretty obsessive, and yes, Kinsella shows the humour in that. But I could see the sadness in it too. Same with Audrey's minor obsessiveness with Linus. But mental illness runs in families, and obsession often goes along with anxiety. For example, the obsessive thoughts about others opinions. I think the mom probably has some undiagnosed stuff going on.

I personally did expect a comedy going into this because I've read and loved Kinsellas other books. I actually found it less comedic than I was expecting! And where I've experienced the heavy, heartbreaking aspects of anxiety, I'm not sure I personally would want to read about it in that way. I appreciated the lighter take. I think that sometimes a little comedic relief with serious subjects can be a good thing. As someone with social anxiety disorder and general anxiety disorder (what Audrey also has), I didn't personally find the book insensitive. You're right, mental illness is a serious thing. But I didn't find she down played that. She just showed that even if you're suffering, it doesn't have to be all darkness all the time.

I liked the message that Kinsella ends with. Nothing is going to "fix" Audrey. She can't be "talked out of" any of her fears. But life's a jagged chart of ups and downs for everyone. We all have our different experiences. Sometimes for Audrey it's going to be one step forward and two steps back. And that's okay. She just needs to keep moving forward.

Jaseena AL Completely agree with you.I couldn't finish it either !!

message 35: by C.G. (new) - rated it 1 star

C.G. Drews @Jaseena: *hi fives* XD

Teddy Bear Books It's too bad you didn't enjoy this book, because I have 20 pages left and enjoy it thoroughly. but, I agree with some of what you said. like how Frank tells Audrey she has to see Linus and act normal about it, and she gets all submissive and just goes along with it. I was like, really?

Melinda Elizabeth I know what you mean, I had to stop reading a few times !

Darsel Hi!!:-) I just...want to comment but I mean no harm just want to share my thoughts. I used to have sad when I was a teen and I (think) I've been cured when I reached adulthood.(I'm not that old tho). I really love this book. I'm not really a fond of young adult but I give this a try and I admit its because of Sophie Kinsella. Andddd when I finished this book all I was thinking was "why didnt I have a boyfriend when I had sad?! Why I have to cure it all by myself?!" But then I think "duh fck it. At least I've been cured and I have one now" soooo thats it. I love reading reviews; the good one and the bad one. And I have to comment on this one bcs... To show diversity? I dont know. Anw sad is not a joke and I hope you'll find nothing but pride (that you've been cured) when you read abt sad. Have a good life!!xx

Darsel Umm.. Lemme rephrase.. "The good one and the bad one" which I mean this is a good review but you're not into the book. So I shouldve written "the one who like the book and the one who dislike" (I need to learn more vocab dont you think?!)

Emily Malinari Coming from somebody who has severe social anxiety, this book is almost an exact representation of of anxiety from Audrey's point of view. Everything that goes through people's minds that have social anxiety disorder or any type of anxiety, is completely expressed through Audrey. I do not believe one bit that the author had in mind to make a "joke" about anxiety disorders in regards of how her and Linus communicate and/or the character she has portrayed with the mother, Anne. She was only trying to make it more interesting by adding more dynamic to the personalities of the characters. Honestly, I respect this book 100% so far. I'm only on page 100 right now but i have found it no way offensive. Not to be blunt, but just because you might be surrounded by people with anxiety does not mean you should assume how the book should've been written. This is a completely satisfying book so far because reading Audrey's thoughts knowing she is a character with anxiety, tells me I'm not the only one in the world that thinks how I do. I appreciate this book and the way it has been written. I am sorry this offended you enough to put it down . I hope you might pick it up again some day with more of an open mind. Sorry if anything I said was offensive it is just an extreme topic I especially feel strongly about. Happy reading :)

message 41: by C.G. (new) - rated it 1 star

C.G. Drews @Emily: I have S.A.D too. So. That definitely makes my feelings 100% as justified as yours. I won't be ever picking it up again because I hated it, BUT! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Good for you.

Emily Malinari Lol thanks.

message 43: by Sara Val (new)

Sara Val I can't stand when authors take serious topics and mold them in a way that mocks or insults. Completely unsettling.

message 44: by rachel ☾ (new)

rachel ☾ Woah, I guess we get to see the topic of your recent blog post (about disagreeing comments on reviews) come into place IRL now! Sorry about the trolls. I have loved Sophie Kinsella's adult books and am so disappointing to hear that she treats such a sensitive topic so poorly. It seems not too many people liked this one. I think I'll have to pick it up with lowered expectations now. Thanks for the warning!

Beth (fuelled by fiction) Lol I love your edit

Nadea the most relatable review ever)

Shannon Am about to read this book and am interested to see how I'll react to it after reading your review. I'm in remission from panic disorder and depression, so I can def see your point about anxiety disorders not being taken seriously. I think it would help if the author had personal experience with anxiety. I could see myself writing about my panic in a comedic way--it would be therapeutic, I think.

Claire Grassman Cait--Hugs to you in your journey. You can and will thrive even with your "dark passenger." (A phrase I borrowed from Dexter, but it just fit SO WELL.)

Have you read Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman?

Take care

message 49: by Kim (new)

Kim Weiss I'm wondering why on Earth Sophie Kinsella would write about this topic. Do all teen novels have to be about the aftermath of a rape or bullying event (if they're not dystopian, I mean)? Kinsella's forte are comedic, light novels about gambling ghosts, inept maids, mixed up cell phones and the like. Why is she trying to become like Sarah Dessen or a much more serious author?

Ettie Andrews I'm sorry you feel that way! I also struggle with anxiety and though my journey was different and took much longer it was very similar to Audrey's. I had to push myself, it was painful, frustrating, I had more steps back than forward. I was angry. But I kept pushing and now I am on the right track. So for me this is a very accurate representation. But everyone is different and I can appreciate that.

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