Happy Thanksgiving! Today, I am grateful for books, Chipotle, and the people I share them with. And today, that includes all of you. Because this morning I finished Mitchell Kriegman’s Being Audrey Hepburn, and now I’m going to tell you about it.
This is a difficult blog post to write because I was loving this book until the last ten pages.
To start with, most of the characters are vivid. Lisbeth, the main character, has real problems, an overbearing family, and a larger-than-life best friend. She begins as unassuming. And yet, within a couple chapters (with the help of a little Audrey magic), she becomes the latest sensation to hit the New York social scene. I loved this book because it gave me the feeling that I too could change my life. And I was impressed with Kriegman’s writing. I never doubted that it was a teenage girl’s voice, which I was skeptical of when I first realized a man had written it.
But (and as always, spoilers follow) some story aspects seemed very out of place. The entire romantic subplot, for instance. All through the book, Lisbeth’s love interest Jake pops up at random places. Sometimes you think she’s forgotten about him because she is swept up in ZK and her new friends, but he always comes back into the picture. It’s so random that, when they are shown to be together in the end, it feels like a consolation prize.
Of course, it’s not as bad as the kiss she shares with her best friend Jess. Originally, I was extremely happy with his portrayal of Jess. Her sexuality (she is a lesbian) is mentioned and contributes to her character, but is in no way her defining trait. And yet, a scene comes where she leans in and kisses Lisbeth, which has no place in the story. It doesn’t add anything to the story, it doesn’t make sense for her character, and it pulled me out of the story. Lisbeth’s adventures in society were exciting enough. No romance was needed.
And, unfortunately, the end was a disappointment. The big “twist” happened in the last twenty pages. There wasn’t enough time to completely explore the fallout, even if it had been a good plot point, which it wasn’t because it felt like the author had lied to us. Lisbeth’s Nan had said that her husband was an ordinary guy, but the “greatest guy ever,” and yet, in the last twenty pages, it is revealed that he was a mobster. It felt like something he had just thrown in for an ending. And Lisbeth’s society friend, Tabitha, didn’t develop at all. In fact, no one she met in her adventures seemed to be real in the end. Months went by in the last ten pages, and she ended up where she began with the exception of her romantic relationship and her blog making some money. It felt like lazy writing.
I was disappointed because I do love Holly Golightly, the Breakfast at Tiffany’s character that Lisbeth was trying to emulate, and the Being Audrey Hepburn actually did feel magical for the first 310 pages. But the ending completely ruined the effect and left me feeling almost empty. I just wish I could go back to the end of Jess’s fashion show and bask in the glow for a little longer.
My favorite thing about this book: Lisbeth’s interactions with her Nan, where they drink champagne and eat cheesecake. Which may be why I felt so betrayed when I discovered she had lied.
My least favorite thing about this book: Besides the ending? The kiss between Jess and Lisbeth.
Who I would most like to recommend this book to: People who love Audrey Hepburn or following celebrities on page 6.
Where I read this book: Mostly at the Lowell library. It gets so dead that we have a lot of time for reading.
Where this book sits on my bookshelf: After No More Dead Dogs by Gordan Korman, before A Journey to the New World of the Dear America series.