September 22, 2014

Review: Being Audrey Hepburn

When I saw this cover, I was intrigued. I mean, who doesn’t love Audrey Hepburn?! Okay, some of you don’t, but I love a classic Hollywood actress.

I was curious to see how Kriegman was going to bring Audrey into modern times, and into YA. This book has an interesting “flavor” to it.

Title: ‘Being Audrey Hepburn’
Author: Mitchell Kriegman
Pages: 366
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Available: NOW at your local library or bookstore
Source: Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

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…

My Thoughts:

First, let me say that the Goodreads description is interesting because this is not how I would describe this book, at all. That first paragraph especially just doesn’t seem to fit. This description would not sell me to want to read this book.
Do you know what would? Having the idea of a dress transforming the life of a girl. A girl who wants nothing out of life but to not end up like her mom. Or her sister. Or her brother. This is a girl who sees possibility in all things Audrey Hepburn.

This is also a girl with connections. Lisbeth’s best friend works at The Met, and she just happens to have access to a Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys.’

This friend, Jess, allows Lisbeth to try on the dress. I mean, how can she not? Lisbeth is completely obsessed with all things Hepburn, and Jess is her best friend. But when Jess is in danger of being discovered by her boss, she shoos Lisbeth into a party being held at the museum, and this thrusts Lisbeth into a life she could only have dreamed.

And while I could argue it is the dress that changes her life, it really isn’t. It is a chance encounter in a bathroom with a pop star who has had too much to drink and is sick in the bathroom. Lisbeth shows her kindness, and this pop star is what thrusts Lisbeth into the “high life.” The little black dress just allowed Lisbeth to “look” the part.

But there are family secrets being kept, and Lisbeth cannot sustain her lifestyle much longer. She is neglecting family, friends, and her own life to live it up with a crowd not meant to have her.

The question is: will her secret be found out?

What drives this book is not the story itself but Lisbeth. She is what kept me reading, even in parts where I was disconnecting. This is a girl who is searching for her own independence, but she is struggling because her mom wants one life for her and she wants a different one—not sure what life she wants yet, but that’s normal. Lisbeth seeks solace in her closet, and this is where her love for Audrey Hepburn is truly revealed. She relishes her closet time, with her laptop and her Hepburn film collection.

Lisbeth shines the most as a character when she is with her own kind. I did not buy her time with the socialites; it made her seem fake and uncaring. But when she is on the page with her best friend Jess, even with her family, she is more relatable and feels more real.

As for the plot, I found it an interesting idea. There were a couple of plot twists that I thought were interesting, and I really enjoyed the idea of a little black dress transforming someone’s life, but maybe in a different way.

I found the pacing of the novel to be a bit slow, and then it would pick up, and then slow down again. The final pay off was worth hanging in there.

Do I recommend this book?
I do, but with reservation to those who are looking for a book to hook them. This is not that novel. This novel is more geared towards established readers. I don’t see traditional non-readers staying hooked in the plot, but they may connect with Lisbeth as a character.
What’s the best realistic fiction novel you’ve read lately?

Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator



  1. Thanks for the honest review and for pointing out the fact that the blurb doesn't do a great job of defining the book. Your description certainly did a lot more to hook me than the book's own summary!

  2. If I had read the Goodreads description, I probably would not pick up this book. Whoever wrote it needs to go back and edit it because I didn't feel it really matched the book at all.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Happy Reading!

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