Although it deals with serious mental health issues, Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella made me laugh more than any other book I’ve read this year.
Throughout most of the book, Audrey’s mum is freaking out about Audrey’s brother’s, Frank’s, “addiction” to video games, which reminded me of my mother. My brother spends his entire day on his Xbox, and doesn’t leave his gaming chair, ever. My mother has to beg him to take a shower. I am writing this at 5:22am, because I have to go to work at 6, and he’s still in there playing games.
At one point, Audrey’s mother makes Frank go on a run. Frank complains, but he surprises his mother because he’s on the cross country team. When they get home, their mother is exhausted and Frank has barely broken a sweat. This was the funniest part of the book for me, especially after Frank’s mother had accused him of not getting enough physical activity.
Audrey’s mum’s fascination with Daily Mail articles also reminds me of my mom. She recently read an online article claiming that bras give you cancer. It’s been a nightmare. Not only is she telling me to get rid of my bras, but she’s also given up wearing bras herself, which is not an appropriate sight for anyone.
Another moment in the book made me laugh because of its relevance to my life. Frank says:
LOC is sophisticated. It has its own language. It has rules. It’s like…it’s like fucking Latin. That’s what it’s like. Latin. And Mum and Dad are like, ‘Oh it’s so evil.’ What if I was addicted to Latin? (149)
I love this quote, because I am obsessed with Latin. My majors are English and classics, but the only reason I’m majoring in classics is because of the Latin.
I found some specific examples of humor in Finding Audrey:
OK, so the thanking is unlikely. But the point is, I’m a mother. Mothers don’t run away when things get tough.
Camera pans to Mum’s BlackBerry and focuses in on a Google search:
Spa breaks for single women, no children allowed
Mum hastily covers it with her hand.
That’s nothing (126).
’Are you sleeping well?’ Mum peers at him anxiously. ‘You teenagers need sleep. You should be sleeping fourteen hours a night.’
‘Fourteen hours?’ We both stare at her.
‘Mum, even comatose people don’t sleep fourteen hours a night,’ says Frank (88).
’Right, young man,’ she says to Frank, who is staring sullenly at the floor. ‘Well, you have cooked your goose. You are hereby banned from playing any computer games for…what do you think, Chris?’
‘One day,’ says Dad firmly, just as Mum says, ‘Two months’ (69).
I did not connect with any of the characters, except their mother–their mother was my mother. I didn’t like Linus, I thought he was boring and too polite. Initially, Audrey seemed boring too. Her determination to get better proved that she had some tenacity, but I still did not feel like she was a fun character.
I liked the trajectory of Audrey’s mental recovery. It had ups and downs, which seemed like a realistic representation of recovery. Although the plot and characters are a bit boring, the book’s humor makes them fun to read, so I do recommend the book. I enjoyed reading it.