The Invisible Life of… My Existential Crisis

If you haven’t read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, go do it.

Unless you’d prefer not to question your entire life.

I jest, of course. Go read it.

And then feel free to shed your tears in the comment section below. I shall cry with you.

The thing that makes The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, or Addie for short from this point forward, is the fact that it delves deeply into the human condition, the eternal search for meaning, the desire to to just live, to make your life have an impact on this world, even long after you die.

The thing is, Addie can’t die.

And Addie can’t have impact.

Because no one can remember her.

So, how do you make the world remember you, if you might as well not even exist, according to the world?

This is something Addie somehow figures out a way to achieve, through art and music that persists long after the echo of her presence is gone from the minds of those who drew upon her.

But nevertheless, even though she has woven herself between the notes in a song, and graced herself upon canvases, become the very colors of the paints she inhabits, she will not be remembered as anything more than a mysterious, alluring, unnamed figure.

And isn’t that the most terrifying idea in all the world? To so desperately want to live, to so desperately want to experience everything in this world? But to ultimately never be a part of it?

Well, there is an existential crisis for you.

For me, this hit home. Not because I cannot be remembered. I certainly can be. But will I be? I suppose I hope so. I suppose I want to create something so lasting that it will persist long after I am gone.

Because one day I will be gone, unlike Addie LaRue. And I suppose this means I have no time to waste.

And then there is Henry, sweet, soft Henry, who seeks not simply to be remembered, but to be enough, which I suppose is similar, in its own way, if only because it is the most relatable existential crisis there is.

Am I enough?

For someone else?

For myself?

These are the questions that plague Henry, and it adds an element that adds an almost tangible, heart-wrenching aspect of despair to the novel.

Henry is enough, especially for Addie, who wants nothing more than to be remembered, and Henry can remember her, does remember her, over and over and over again.

They are a carefully crafted, perfect pair, each enough for the other, if only because they fill each other’s base needs to exist in a place that brings them peace.

It doesn’t last though.

At least, not in the way you want it to. They do not end up together, the perfect pair that might eternally fulfill each other.

No, the ending is actually a lot more evocative.

Take Henry and his relatable existential crisis of never being enough. In true fashion, as happy as Addie might make him, he needs to find his own purpose, his own meaning.

Through the pages of a book.

A book that simultaneously gives Addie, quite literally, life. A life that was invisible, now laid bare to the world, and can be reread, remembered, over and over and over.

Oh, Shwabb.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a love letter to life, to be honest. Sure, I had many moments of questioning my very existence, and musings of how my life might impact the world, if it ever will.

Tears.

Lots of tears.

So would I read this book again, knowing that I will be forced to evaluate the meaning of life, to be remembered, to be enough for this world, over and over again?

You bet.

Because what is life if not to examine these things, under a highly freckled lens?

If you read this book and subsequently saw yourself in constellation of freckles gracing Addie’s cheeks, wondering how you will be remembered, hoping that one day you will, I say to you:

You will be.

If you viewed yourself through Henry’s glasses, over the rim of a book, wondering if you are enough, I say to you:

You are. You always have been.

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