I believe by now almost all of you have read or heard lots and many different opinions and reviews of “The invisible Life of Addie LaRue”. I read the book back in November and ended up loving it. This book has been given lots of praise from professional book reviewers, so I just hope to give it justice with my humble words. It took me a lot of time (and a rereading) to find the strength to share my review with you. I must tell you in advance that it is going to be quite lengthy, so please bear with me.
If you have read any of Schwab’s previous work, then I must tell you that this book is very different from them. You will find the essence of Victoria, yes, however, if you have come here looking just for another typical fantasy book to read, then I will suggest you be prepared for some disappointment. This book is meaningful in a way that it has the power to break you. To expose you. And depending on how willing you are to let do so, you will end up either loving it or hating it.
The plot goes something like this: Addie is a woman who is forced into an unwanted marriage. The night of the ceremony, she decides to run away and, in her desperation to be freed, ends up doing a deal with some dark deity. She will receive immortality to be free to do as she pleases, but no one will remember her. After three hundred years, intriguingly, Addie meets a guy who can remember her, Henry. The story is told in a nonlinear narrative, so we will have flashbacks from Addie’s life throughout all these 300 years alternating with the main plot.
Even though the book’s title is “The Invisible of Addie LaRue”, the story does not only focus on her and her sole experiences. We have three central characters, Addie, Henry, and Luc. They share this unique and complex relationship that is outlined in a very peculiar and beautiful way. Even though the descriptions are done in an incredibly detailed manner, they do not seem to shadow the plot or make the story flat. In fact, the author has found a way to take advantage of this and found a way to merge this with her own narrative technique. Immersing the reader into a gorgeous fairytale.
It is also through art that this story finds its way into us. At the beginning of each of the seven parts the book is divided into, we are going to find a piece of art that is somehow relevant to Addie’s long existence because she has inspired/influenced the author somehow. In every piece, we can spot something related to Addie, her own unique signature.
About the characters, Addie is this fierce, empowered, female protagonist that stands out for her willingness to stay standing. She is remarkable. No matter how many obstacles she encounters, she always ends up finding the strength to resist. She perseveres and keeps on trying and fighting for what she wants. Time and again. She is enthralled with life, with being here, most importantly, with leaving her mark. That is what she really wants and hopes for.
If Addie is admirable because of her willing to survive, then Henry is as equally remarkable for his willingness to not exist. Henry is introduced just like a regular guy. However, while reading his part of the story we will understand that he is more than that. He is warm and kind, but for all of that, he is prone to depression and anxiety. His background history will help us to understand how serious his condition is. His self-worth is below ground, and he is constantly thinking that everything will be better if he is not there.
For some of you, this part of the book may feel boring, lame, or unnecessary, but it is necessary. Henry’s perspective shows us how people with depression feel every minute, every hour, every day, every time. He feels that he is not enough, that he deserves all the bad things that happen to him. He cannot find it in himself to actually believe that his friends care for him. And he wants to go away, to disappear at any cost. This part of the book is important because it will put us in the shoes of a person that suffers from depression. And it is up to you if you decide to empathize and look at the deeper meaning behind the words, or just remain on the surface.
If you are very observant, you may have noticed that I have not told you about Luc. Well, this character is one of the most intriguing ones because of his constant duality. He is mighty and powerful, always boasting about his abilities and all the things he is able to do if provoked. He has this chic-gothic style that just leaves you wondering about him every time he appears.
For some people, the book will be just the typical cliché where the girl falls for the only boy who seems to remember her, they will need to fight in order to achieve their happiness, and in the end, they can either succeed or fail. However, I also know that for most of us this story is so much more than that. Yes, the book is romantic. But romance is not key here. Addie’s love belongs to life itself, not to any man or woman she can possibly meet and care for.
This book reminded me of old fables, myths, of fairytales. It was one of the best readings that I have ever had. Reading it in times like this, while we are still dealing with the pandemic has made it even more special because the story is about keeping the willing to live even in times of pain or despair. Addie’s story is simply amazing because it changes you, it forces you to transform yourself into something more. I am sure that Addie has left a mark on me. I will remember her story. I will remember Addie LaRue.