The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Reviewer rating

Format reviewed: Audio
Ready by Julia Whelan
17 hours

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue came to me with rave reviews, so I had high expectations. The premise of the story is that there is a young woman, Addie LaRue, who lives in a small village in France in the 1700s. Her father dotes on her and gives her special attention, but her mother, who seems always tired, tells her to be a realist and accept what life has in store for women. Addie looks around and sees that there is a path that all of the women in the village tread. Young and happy, then get married, have children, and slowly have all of their vitality and happiness worn away by the burdens of being a wife and mother. This is so unappealing to Addie.

As she grows older her parents try to make a match for her, but she refuses each one. Finally, her parents run out of patience and tell her she must get married and choose a groom for her. In desperation, Addie runs away and cries into the night that she would give anything to avoid the fate that awaits her … and then some ancient god, or the devil, answers. Thus Addie makes a deal to give up her soul in exchange for being able to live free for as long as she wants to. Ha, ha, ha. Remember those stories where you get a wish, but you had better be careful how it is worded? Well, there is a major gotcha in the terms of the deal.

The story plays out from the 1700s to modern day and we get glimpses of history through Addie’s eyes. The setup for the story is very well done and the characters are brilliantly portrayed. The only problem is that the very long story is told entirely in the third person. It was difficult to stay engaged with a book of this length, consisting largely of descriptions of internal dialog, thoughts, and feelings, told in the third person. I wanted to finish it, I had been told how great it was, but it took forever. Perhaps I need stories with a little more action.

I listened to the audio version of the book and the narrator, Julia Whelan, did a good job. I like to give good marks for imagination and creativity, which this story had. However, in retrospect I’d have been fine not finishing it.

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