Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Finding Audrey Audio

Finding Audrey Audio

Sophie Kinsella
For ages 12 and up
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Gemma Whelan
Listening Library, 2015   ISBN: 978-1846577659

Audrey has always been the smart kid whom teachers and coaches love. They have high expectations of her and tell people that she is “the great hope of the year group.” Many young people would love this attention, but Audrey is shy and being put on the spot makes her more than a little uncomfortable. She likes to have a quiet inconspicuous life. Then, a few months ago, following an unfortunate incident with three cruel girls, Audrey’s shyness escalated into a horrific case of full blown depression and anxiety. After a few days in hospital, Audrey was able to go home, which is where she has been ever since. The only reason she leaves home these days is to see her doctor twice a week. Even at home Audrey wears dark sunglasses all the time so that she does not have to make eye contact with anyone. Though she has made progress, she is worried. In a few months she is going to have to start in a new school. How on earth is she going to manage in school if she cannot even bear to go outside, and if she cannot talk to anyone outside of her family circle?

   Audrey is not the only person in the household who is having problems. Her mother and big brother, Frank, are having issues. Thanks to the Daily Mail, Audrey’s mum thinks that Frank is a computer addict and she is determined to do something about the situation. Frank is an avid Land of Conquerors player and he is equally determined to keep playing the game so that he can compete in a competition. Back and forth the battle rages. In spite of his mother’s antagonism to Land of Conquerors, Frank invites his friend Linus over so that they can practice together as teammates.

   Audrey’s first meeting with Linus does not go well and she has a major anxiety attack that leaves her a quivering wreck, and she has no choice but to take some medication to calm her down. The next time Linus comes over he is more sensitive to her situation, now that he knows what happened to her, and he sends her a note. With her little brother serving as a go between, Audrey and Linus ‘talk’ back and forth for a while. Linus’s comments are kind and supportive and he tells her that “You’ll be in the dark for as long as it takes and then you’ll come out.” Audrey is amazed that Linus seems to really understand what she is going through.

   In an effort to help Audrey move forward, her doctor asks her to start making films of her home life. The hope is that looking at people through the lens of a camera will help Audrey transition to being able to look at people face to face. The whole exercise seems a little silly at first, but it does give Audrey a reason to observe her family members. In the process, it helps her to come of her shell a kittle and notice that she is not the only one who was hurt by those school bullies. Her whole family has been affected.

   In this often funny, sometimes painful tale, Sophie Kinsella explores the way in which bullying can deeply traumatize a person, and we see how Audrey’s anguish and suffering affects her family members as they do their best to support and help her. Audrey’s growing relationship with Linus listeners bright moments that give us hope that she might, at some point, be able to overcome the crippling terrors that are trying to take over her life.