being audrey hepburn book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Based on the plot synopsis and the lovely cover, I was convinced I would love Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman. What I’d anticipated and what the story actually was were two different things, however. I had expected a fluffy rags-to-riches sort of tale, but the actual story was much darker and depressing than I’d hoped for.

Nineteen-year-old Jersey girl Lisbeth gives herself a Pygmalion makeover after slipping into the famed Givenchy dress that Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It was only supposed to be for a few minutes, but Lisbeth stumbled her way into a glamorous party at The Met and quickly became addicted to the lifestyle she had always dreamed of. Lisbeth’s home life is a far cry from that of the rich and famous pop star Tabitha Eden’s, but a chance encounter with the teen sensation leaves Lisbeth thirsty for more.

Lisbeth’s new friendship with Tabitha thrusts her right into the limelight. Soon she’s attending record parties, scheduling shopping excursions, and becoming besties with fashion designers—all while ignoring her problems at home, flaking out on a potential boyfriend who is destined to become a rising star in his own right, and taking advantage of her best friend, Jess. Once Lisbeth is at the height of her popularity, the only place for her to go is down.

I think my biggest issue with Being Audrey Hepburn is that this book is marketed toward young adults aged thirteen and up. There is mature content in this book—drug use, underage drinking, date rape drugs—that I felt was more appropriate for an adult readership. One side plot in the book even featured something reminiscent from the Lifetime TV series Devious Maids.

Another issue I had was Lisbeth herself. I wanted to be sympathetic toward her, but she was a hard individual to like. She reinvents herself and only a few people are privy to her new identity. Once she feels she’s made it, she starts to neglect the most important relationships she has for the new superficial ones she’s formed. She never stops to think how her decisions may impact her family, and when everything begins unraveling, Lisbeth’s family becomes deeply affected.

Lastly, the pacing of the book just seemed off. Lisbeth’s new life begins to fall apart almost toward the end, not allowing due time to touch on Lisbeth’s family secrets involving her beloved Nan, which was the most intriguing part of the story. I wish that more time had been devoted to that than name dropping designer labels and building up Lisbeth’s relationships with the rich and famous. I would have also loved to see more of Lisbeth’s blog entries. The one passage shared was really fun and lightened up the darkness to this story.

Being Audrey Hepburn was a bit of a miss for me, but may appeal to readers interested in the grittier side of fame and fortune.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Griffin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.