Ahhh young love. Nothing cures the deepening hole of depression like knowing that someone’s got a crush on you.
Synopsis (from Goodreads.com) – 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.
Rating – 3/5 stars
My thoughts – I don’t have a degree in psychology, but my day job requires me to understand the workings of the human brain. The “lizard brain” as Audrey mentions in the book is a little walnut shaped thing that sits somewhere around your neck. This tiny guy is what other people call your “flight or fight” response. They call it the “lizard brain” because it’s a part of the brain that’s existed since we were cavemen hunting and gathering our food. It’s what tells us to run from the dinosaur that’s coming to attack you.
Not only does it give you the survival skills to stay alive, but it also perceives fear. Perceived fear is so different than actual fear. It’s what your brain is telling you is dangerous even though most people don’t know that to be dangerous.
And fear is more than seeing a rabid dog or falling out of a plane. It can be as small as someone yelling at you for doing a bad job or if you work in customer service like I do, it could be someone not happy with a response you sent them. For someone like Audrey, doing a bad job could mean that the end of the world is coming.
“The trouble is, depression doesn’t come with handy symptoms like spots and a temperature, so you don’t realize it at first. You keep saying “I’m fine” to people when you’re not fine. You think you SHOULD be fine. You keep saying to yourself: “Why aren’t I fine?”
While I didn’t rate this book as high as I hoped I would, I liked it nonetheless. I think the faults for me were around the writing choice and the plot. While the story is about a young woman living with a newly diagnosed mental illness, there’s a lot of preoccupation on her brother and video games. I feel like it almost takes away from the actually finding of Audrey and focuses on how to make six million dollars playing video games. Perhaps it’s because it shows the pre-occupation of a mother who wants to know that her kids are doing well. But it comes off as manic and clingy and not really attractive to me in terms of stories.
The writing itself is written in the point of view of Audrey. While it seems like Sophia Kinsella took the time to write in what would be the vernacular of a 15-year-old teenager, it just comes off fake. I read The Shopaholic series a couple of years ago and I don’t remember the writing coming off this way. It’s possible that I wasn’t paying attention. When you’re in college, you’ll do anything to get a break from the academic reading.
What I appreciated the most from this book is the ability to talk about mental illness. Having mental illness is definitely hard to detect and when it is detected, hard to admit to yourself that it’s real and that you should seek help. There’s so many great stories coming out highlighting that mental illness is a real thing. It’s like a cancer. You think it goes away, but then it creeps its ugly head up on you. You think you’re done with it, but then you relapse into the darkness that your brain is so apt to walk towards.
While flawed in some other ways, I think Finding Audrey does a good job showing people who may not already suffer from mental illness some idea of what it’s like. It takes patience and understanding. It’s knowing that sometimes you won’t get to hang out with your friend and not making a big deal out of it.
“But, Audrey, that’s what life is. We’re all on a jagged graph. I know I am. Up a bit, down a bit. That’s life.”
With a little bit of elbow grease, you’ll see your friends and family members come back to life from the brink of mental illness, but know that there isn’t a cure for it all. Just always be aware. It’s always going to be around and the best you can do is give that person a hug.