"The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" Captivates Readers and Asks Who Are You if Nobody Remembers You

By Sharon Saye on April 21, 2021 from Off the Shelf via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Most readers have had that rare experience either by serendipity or recommendation of finding that one book that completely captivates them.  
 
It is the type that you slow down the last few pages because you don’t want it to end.  And when it does, you fall into what Booktubers call “book depression.”  This is when no new book attracts your attention. 
 
This does not happen very often and there are only a handful of books that you remember over a reading lifetime that accomplish this.  This winter I have read two books that fit this description.  One was “The House on the Cerulean Sea” and the other was “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.” 
 
I have mentioned the second book several times in this column since it was one of the most anticipated books of last fall.  V.E. Schwab writes both for young adults and adults, primarily fantasy.  She is best known for her “Shades of Magic” series.  “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” has a fantasy element, but that is not the true thrust of the novel. 
 
Adeline LaRue is born in the late 1600s in a small French village; her father is a woodcarver, and he takes her to the neighboring market occasionally when he goes to sell his output.  She is mesmerized by this view of the outside world and doesn’t want to end up like her mother and her friends.  When she is forced into marriage, she runs into the forest and prays for help, but as she has been warned, “Never pray after dark,” a demon appears and gives her the freedom she asks for. 
 
There is a catch, or actually, a series of catches.  Adeline LaRue is now immortal, but no one remembers her.  The minute they turn away from her, they forget.  Her family doesn’t know her, her friends don’t know her.  Even the smallest details of everyday life are affected by the curse.  She cannot say or write her name. 
 
Addie learns to move through life where she is invisible, where she can have no home, or possessions, where lovers don’t know who she is in the morning.  And then one day, she goes into a book shop and steals a book, and the clerk, Henry, remembers her.  And when she returns the next day, he still remembers her. 
 
“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” alternates chapters in the past with details of her relationship with Henry in 2014 New York.   Although the fantasy element propels the plot, it is a story of identity and recognition.  Who are you if no one remembers you?   
 



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