The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue had me at a Faustian bargain. A woman who trades her soul to live forever, but is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets? It’s a source of intrigue that I never lost while reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. Keep reading this book review to see how much I enjoyed The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever-and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore, and he remembers her name.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I enjoyed The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue because of its fabulous concept. You know those books that seem to be distilled into a single sentence? The ones that grab your wonder and curiosity from that first moment? The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a perfect example of one of those books which takes this seemingly simple sentence and then follows its consequences to the end. Chasing every lead, every complication, and every heartbreak.
At the same time, what kept my attention during my late nights was the way Schwab delves into the human condition and universal feelings of loneliness throughout The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. Beginning with a deal made in desperation, Addie’s story is one that shifts hues in the light. And while there are moment of happiness, laughter, and joy, there’s still a deep sense of loneliness, of longing, and heartbreak. It makes you wonder if the measure of our life is the mark we make on the world, the people, around us. And what, if we cannot, would our life mean?
And a deal struck to escape a world where Addie is robbed of agency, a future that is stolen from her, turns into one that has lasting consequences. It plunges her into a power struggle with a vengeful god of darkness. And a curse. An immortal life will always result in the ones we love leaving us. Watching their bodies collapse into dust and experiencing the heartbreak over and over again. But for Addie, she experiences that same heart wrenching loneliness every morning. Addie and Henry are bisexual. When the people we love forget us in the blink of an instant. When we are robbed of a sense of permanence, security, and comfort.
The Story Unfolds
While The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is slow building, when the events start unfolding I was hooked. And throughout it all, Schwab keeps the focus on Addie’s story, unfolding in dual timelines (one that advances throughout the decades, and another one in 2014). I don’t want to spoil a single moment of the book for you, but know that by about the halfway point I was thoroughly hooked. Schwab presents a story, that while infused with the sadness of loneliness, is also one of happiness. Of that moments where when a person sees you, truly sees you, how nothing that replace that instant. This becomes even more meaningful for Addie, in a world where absolutely no one remembers her.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue has this quiet intensity to not only the plot, but also the characters. There were moments that absolutely broke my heart. After reading, and writing this review, I think I am still struck by Schwab’s world building and themes. It contemplates a question humans have been trying to solve and grapple with for centuries: our desire to be remembered.
How it can feel like nothing and everything to be seen and remembered. The lengths to which humans will go to in order to leave a mark on the world. And while not all of us can be Pullitzer prize winners or save lives, it’s also about the small ways we leave our existence in the memories. In being present in other’s stories.