More Jared than Tiffany: ‘Being Audrey Hepburn’ by Mitchell Kriegman

Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell KriegmanBriefly: What happens when your average girl with below average finances and a Jersey accent gets stuck in that infamous black Givenchy from Breakfast at Tiffany’s? At the Metropolitan Museum of Art? During a hoity toity soirée? And people see you and think you belong? And it feels great to pretend that you are not Just Lisbeth but instead Lisbeth, the Audrey Hepburn-esque party goer?

In her real life, Lisbeth is a retreater. Her life is chaos, from her delinquent little brother, to her escapist sister, to her mother who is always about to snap. Lisbeth’s sanctuary has become her closet, where lives a TV and her Audrey Hepburn movie collection. The only family member that she can relate to is Nan, her grandmother who lives nearby in a senior living facility. Nan was a society girl who married her regular guy grandfather, much to Nan’s parents’ chagrin.

Lisbeth’s best friend, Jess, is going to fashion design school and working part-time at the Met. Knowing that Lisbeth is a (literal) closet Audrey Hepburn fan, she texts Lisbeth so she can come and see the dress. Along the lines of a less-wacky version of an I Love Lucy, Lisbeth can’t remove the dress. And Jess’ boss has returned. So stepping out into a completely different world, Lisbeth’s life is forever changed in an instant because of pretending to be someone else.

Didja Like It?: The bones of this story allowed for so much potential: poor girl stumbles into wealthy world, re-invents herself for the night. However, there is so much going on, that it feels like the stories are not all fully fleshed-out. The most interesting story line involves her Nan. She has saved a lot of couture dresses from when she was a debutante, and Jess is just the person to update them. Lisbeth starts a fashion blog, becomes darling of a fashion icon, and helps her friend Jess in the fashion world.  I enjoyed the fashion angle, particularly because the real Audrey Hepburn was a huge fashion icon. (I wrote ‘fashion’ five times!)

The tortured teen pop icon, poor little rich boy, evil Svengali and the plotting mean girl were over-the-top contrivances. Also, along the way, Lisbeth ignores her family’s problems, has to keep her real identity a secret, and just might have chosen the wrong guy. Unfortunately, there’s never enough meat on those bones to make us care about any of these people or their problems.

Anything Else to Mention?: I couldn’t determine whether Lisbeth wanted to be Audrey Hepburn or Don Rickles. The occasional snarky comments did not jibe well with the idea that this girl worshiped someone known for her loveliness, grace and elegance. The plot was very telegraphed, flat and shallow. It was a “tell, not show” sort of book which I deplore.

To Read or Not To Read: I didn’t like it. Let me know if you did in the comments below.

Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman was published September 16, 2014 by St. Martin’s Griffin. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, the Publisher and the Author.

Rating: 2

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Mature themes, including underage drinking, drugs, sex.

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