In Being Audrey Hepburn, Clarissa Explains It All-creator Mitchell Kriegman tells the story of a 19-year-old girl from Jersey who finds herself thrust into the world of socialites after being seen in Audrey Hepburn's dress from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. Lisbeth comes from a broken home in the land of tube tops, heavy eyeliner, frosted lip-gloss, juiceheads, hoop earrings, and "the shore". She has a circle of friends who have dedicated their teenage lives to relieve the world of all its alcohol one drink at a time. Obsessed with everything Audrey Hepburn, Lisbeth is transformed when she secretly tries on Audrey's iconic Givenchy. She becomes who she wants to be by pretending to be somebody she's not and living among the young and privileged Manhattan elite. Soon she's faced with choices that she would never imagine making - between who she's become and who she once was. In the tradition of The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, this is a coming of age story that all begins with that little black dress...
Lisbeth comes from a family where she doesn't really fit in. Her mother is an alcoholic, her sister is quickly following suit, and her younger brother is struggling with some clear behavior disorders. Lisbeth's mother has a future all planned out for her since she is the "good daughter" with potential. However, it is a future Lisbeth wants nothing to do with.
Lisbeth's main support system comes from her Nan, who shares and understands her obsession with Audrey Hepburn, and her best friend Jess, a brilliant fashion student currently working as a museum curator. One night Lisbeth meets Jess at the museum and finds herself trying on the famous Givenchy made for Audrey. A couple turns of event lead to a night that will change her whole life. Lisbeth finds herself in a world she has been desperate to experience, but knows that it can't last. Partially because she is pretending to be someone she isn't. Specifically Audrey Hepburn.
At first, I was afraid that this was just going to be a fluffy story with a few mishaps and a little charm. In the beginning there was an awful lot of the author making sure we understood just how much Lisbeth loved Audrey Hepburn, and at one point I had to plead with the author to move on and stop repeating the word "Givenchy". However, those feelings quickly faded away as I became more connected to Lisbeth and found that there was much more to her and the story.
What we get is a young girl finding herself and deciding who and what she wants to be. Even through the charade, it seems that Lisbeth is finding herself rather than losing herself in this world that is vastly different from her own. It was rewarding to see her discovering her talents, and finding the courage to go after the life she really wanted rather than the one that was being forced on her. She definitely makes some questionable choices, and takes some crazy risks, but at the heart of it all I was cheering her on and hoping that she would find her place in the world and become a woman who knew herself.
I also enjoyed the evolution of the situation with her family and watching how even some serious challenges and struggles could help a very broken family start to heal.
This was a delightful and entertaining read, and I thought the narrator did a pretty great job of voicing Lisbeth. She sounded just like what I would imagine Lisbeth sounds like, which made it easy to become immersed in the story.
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