Bourke's Bookshelf: 'I remember you'

This week's featured read is "The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" by V.E. Schwab.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
This month's featured book is "The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" by V.E. Schwab.
Tim Speier / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Every now and then, I find a book that makes me feel so many mixed emotions that I don’t even know how to put together a coherent thought when I finish it.

“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” is one of those books.

Theresa Bourke headshot

Beautiful yet tragic, uplifting yet devastating, inspiring yet terrifying. The story of Addie LaRue has it all, and then some. It’s a book that’s sure to make you think deeply, wonder incessantly and feel intensely.

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

Imagine the thing you want most in life — above anything else. And then imagine to what lengths you’d go to attain that thing.

Addie LaRue, a young woman in her early 20s in 1700s France, knows what she wants out of life and doesn’t think twice about how to get it.


But perhaps she should have.

Finding herself forced into a wedding she doesn’t want to a man she doesn’t love with kids she doesn’t want to raise as her stepchildren, Addie does something she knows she isn’t supposed to do. She makes a deal with the devil.

More time and a life of freedom in exchange for her soul.

But she realizes too late exactly what that means. From there on out — 1714 — Addie is immortal. She literally has all the time in the world, and she isn’t tied down to anyone or anything because she’s cursed to be immediately forgotten by every person she meets. That also includes every person she’s ever known. It’s a solitary life Addie did not envision but one she is stuck with forever.

Kildegaard, who is visiting Central Lakes College Monday, March 27, is a Minnesota poet and director of the Honors Program at the University of Minnesota-Morris.
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The narrative switches back and forth between Addie’s early life in France, the years immediately following the curse and the present day — 2014 — in New York City. She has lived 300 years as nothing more than a ghost. Until now.

Enter Henry Strauss, a tortured young New Yorker whose life will collide with Addie’s in the most unexpected way possible.

While I was blown away by the originality and creativity of this story, one of my hang ups with this book is that I felt it was much longer than it needed to be. I felt it could do without a portion of the historic flashbacks into Addie’s early life and some of the goings on in Henry’s life that didn’t really seem to add much to the story except length. I listened to this book in audiobook format and found myself having to rewind several times because my mind wandered off and wasn’t paying attention to the story.

But length aside, the parts that were good were really, really good. There were plot points I didn’t see coming and theories I had that shockingly turned out to be far from the truth. Several times during my reading I waffled between giving the book a five star rating just because of how stellar parts of it were and giving it three stars because of the parts that didn’t hold my attention.


I settled on the happy medium of a four-star Goodreads rating. “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” is a book I’m ultimately going to recommend to fellow readers because, personal tastes aside, the story of the forgotten ghost girl is one that will live in my memory for years to come.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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