If you ever start to feel like you are losing your mind, you should read “Audrey’s Door”. It will put things in perspective. I think pretty much everyone has a touch of the crazy, but in “Audrey’s Door” the main character is two steps away from a straight-jacket. This book was a total impulse buy. It was being advertised as a book that I could get new for one credit and two bucks shipping on paperbackswap (awesome site by the way). So I saw the cover, judged the book by it and thought that might be good and decided to order it and several others. Cause one is never enough. After going through all that, the book sat on my shelf for months. Finally I picked it up and I was very pleasantly surprised at what I found there.
The main character in this novel is Audrey. She is a young architect with O.C.D. – and by no means a mild case of it. At the beginning of the book, Audrey has just broken up with her fiancé and is looking for somewhere new to live that she could possibly afford. The story is set in New York City, so Audrey knows she’s asking for the impossible really. Eventually, she stumbles across an advertisement for an apartment that is by all means a steal. She finds out that the reason the place is priced that way is because the previous tenant had drown her four children and slit her own wrists. So no one really wanted to live there – but Audrey doesn’t see the harm in moving in because she certainly isn’t going to be murdering anyone. Things quickly get strange.
I really liked the character Audrey. She was massively screwed up and in a way it was comforting. Like, there are times when my life is really overwhelming — but I’m not that bad. I liked her flaws and I liked the way that she thinks. For example, “She’d never met a happy family, and wasn’t quite sure she believed in them. They sounded as Kosher as Scientology Aliens or leprechauns.” (Audrey’s Door, pg 35) or “It’s such hubris to think your problems are bigger than the person’s sitting next to you, just because they have the fortitude not to complain.” (Audrey’s Door, pg 159). Audrey has kind of a ‘fuck you’ attitude, but not because she necessarily thinks she is better than everyone else — she is more-so of the mindset that everyone else is better than her. I liked the change in pace. There are so many protagonists who spend all their time thinking they’re better than everyone else when they are just as much of a screw-up as the rest.
In addition to Audrey being O.C.D., her mother is bipolar and living in an assisted living kind of place. The flashbacks throughout the book to her time growing up with her mother were very revealing. It was really strange to think of what that situation must have been like, “She thought of Betty in a bed, all by herself. One moment an angel, the next, a villain. And the thing is, do you blame the sickness, or its host?” (Audrey’s Door, pg 176).
I don’t want to give too much away because that would spoil it. But I found the book to be sufficiently creepy with a nice air of mystery to it. Plus, as I stated earlier, I really liked the main character. Overall, I think that the author did an excellent job and (surprise, surprise) I went out and got the rest of her books. Her writing is poetic in a way. I especially liked this paragraph towards the end: “No thinking creature can tolerate captivity. In the presence of just four white walls, the mind invents. Stagnant air and locked doors skew perception. Eighty-degree angles turn obtuse. Holes form between joists where bricks no longer neatly meet. Smiles become sneers; love skinned leaves the skeleton of lust; and too much sleep unmoors its dreamer. Without the possibility of freedom, the rituals of living are abandoned. Bathing, eating, cleaning, and even language are lost. Things fall apart, and in the vacuum of their absence, madness nears.” (Audrey’s Door, pg 371).
Would I recommend this book? Most definitely!! I was pleasantly surprised by it and I think “Audrey’s Door” would appeal to a wide audience. I probably wouldn’t recommend it to someone who doesn’t enjoy mystery/horror/thriller novels. But it was a great read and I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the books.