The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Plot Summary

Imagine that you were a young woman living some three hundred years ago in France. You had your whole life in front of you when you learned you had to marry a widower with children for the good of the community. You didn’t know this man, nor did you want to marry him. You prayed fervently to the favored gods who answered in the daylight, but you never got a response. All you wanted was more time. Time to discover life. Time to fall in love. Time to explore. The night of the wedding arrives, and you run away into the woods to escape. The dark of night and the trees conceal you.

It’s there that you pray to the gods who answer after dark.

The devil appears and makes a deal with you. Your soul for as much time as you want until you are tired of living. Then he gets your soul.

Addie accepts the deal.

This is the plot of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab.

Addie discovers she has plenty of time. Time isn’t her problem. People remember her only for the present moment. If she pays for something and the seller turns his back, she is a stranger and accused of stealing. Portraits can’t be painted of her; photos show a blurred face. No one can know her; no one can love her. One night stands are the best she can have because her gentlemen friends have no idea who she is when they wake up next to her in the morning.

Addie is unable to leave a lasting legacy and she cannot have her image captured.

Interesting concept for a book. I found it original and philosophically engaging. The ending surprised me. I confess I didn’t care for the ending. In my opinion, Addie’s confidence in herself is flawed. The devil character is also flawed, but these flaws are necessary for the book to end where and how the author intended.

Legacies

In real life, we all want to leave some positive mark in the world, just like Addie. Each of us needs to know our life mattered.

This is especially true for those of us living with metastatic breast cancer.

A personal legacy is more than money or property passed on to others. How a person is remembered is also based on their words, actions, and how they lived while alive. I want to be remembered as someone who was kind and giving, who enjoyed life and tried to both live fully and do some good. Hopefully, I’ll be thought of favorably. I’ve said before that I try to lead by example. May those examples be positive. I’d love for hearts to smile when a memory passes their way or something I have left behind is used.

What else is my personal legacy?

Over two decades of my official life as a teacher is how I believe I’ve made the biggest difference. A lot of children passed through my life and were a true gift to me in countless ways. Some parents have let me know that I’m the one who excited their child about writing or books. Others have let me know I really took the time to get to know and understand their child. I hope I imparted a love for learning, asking questions, and to think carefully to solve a problem. Every morning my class would hear me greet them, “Good morning my most wonderful students.” I would nickname every class the class of awesomeness. I personally emphasized kindness as part of the unofficial curriculum because our world needs more empathy.

Those are the things I hope I’ve done through teaching.

I’ve lived with cancer tried to do it with grace and strength and now with more authenticity. I have not just sat down waiting for the worst. At times, I haven’t accepted everything that accompanies cancer. I’ve tried to teach here, too. People see how I’m living. Sometimes they see it’s hard. There are also those who see what they want to see.

Fundraising for more research at UW Carbone was a big accomplishment for me. It was an accomplishment for cancer research, too. A lot of people helped make it happen. Awareness was raised that was connected to action. I take pride in what I did. I am honored that I pulled some new people into the fold so they could learn and become part of something bigger.

Of course, there will be monetary, property, and other assets left behind. My plan is for there to be enough money to continue the small scholarship I give to a graduating high school senior who plans to major in education for many years. There are a few other charitable contributions planned, along with meaningful keepsake items that I consider legacy worthy.

My writing is another part of my legacy. I’ve printed out each post so there is a hard copy. I hope they are preserved. It’s an impressive stack if I must say so. Other than the writing itself are the ideas I’ve written. Some have been very cancer driven pieces where I’ve written about my life with cancer. I’ve written about cancer issues I’ve experienced and how my perceptions have evolved. In a lot of my posts, I’ve worn my feelings on my sleeve. 

Intangible things are also part of my legacy. We can never really know the effect we have on others. Our attitudes and outlook on life has invisible ripples to others.

Invisibility

And then there are the times I’ve felt invisible like Addie LaRue. Times when I’ve felt not seen or heard. Moments where I feel forgotten. I often feel inconsequential. How can I possibly contribute to society? I’m sick, right? The losses I’ve experienced take away my visibility (career, friendships, health, failed treatments, loss of mobility, loss of favorite activities). Each loss adds a layer of invisibility.

But I am not Addie LaRue.

I am Kristie Konsoer.

I have made contributions to society. I have good family and friends and enjoy time with them. I am not invisible. I am seen.

Author: Kristie Konsoer

I've been living well with metastatic breast cancer since 2012. This blog is a place where I can share thoughts and ideas on cancer, how I feel perceptions of cancer must change, and how I am finding a way to live with strength, hope, meaning, resiliency, humor, and hopefully a little wisdom.

18 thoughts on “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue”

  1. “How a person is remembered is based on their words, actions, and how they lived while alive. Such true words. And we can never really know what legacy we leave behind. But we can live consciously with an end goal in mind – as you most clearly have done. You have touched so many lives for good – both those you know about and so many others you will never know anything about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post is very timely for me, Kristie. Last night, I watched a Netflix movie about RBG and her legacy of fighting for equality for women. After it was over, I couldn’t help wondering about my own legacy, and I couldn’t help thinking that not all of us will do things on such a grand scale as to be immortalized in movies and books. This morning, your post is the first one in my feed. You’ve made a very thoughtful and thought provoking post, and a part of your legacy along with your contributions as a teacher of children, is that through your blog, you’re positively impacting people you’ve never even met. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are seen, for sure. I have great admiration for you and your determination to be kind and giving, and the legacy items you reference are strong.

    Over the past several years, I attended the memorial services for my dearest childhood friend , who died of a glioblastoma, and my older sister, who died from pancreatic cancer. Both were educators. The outpouring of love and appreciation they received from students and colleagues was astonishing. I suspect teaching is a profession in which you know some of that gratitude is present, but you don’t realize the extent. It’s far greater than you imagine.

    Add your blog and you’ve already made quite an impact. You can be confident of that.

    BTW, I’ve tried to print out my blog posts, but they never come out completely. Any tech suggestions?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such sincere words. I am sorry to hear about your childhood friend and older sister. It is so unfair.

      I am not a techy but I think I had that problem initially as well. I always make sure I go to my view post page/the actual published page. Then when I go to print I can customize the printing and limit it just to the post I want.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your presence in my life as a beloved friend creates a closed infinite twist of two seeing one another and hearing one another on a regular basis. I’m disturbed by the plot of the book since its underlying presumption that women aren’t noticed until they’ve become wed to a man. The allegory of the devils deal was to make her forgettable so she could get out of the marriage. But with no legacy what did it much matter anyway since she’d become mostly invisible in a loveless marriage anyway.

    You are one of the few people who regularly checks up on me, and why I’ve chosen to take the personal path over the advocacy path where I was invisible. I had no sense of self or impact. With those who take the time to get to know me or you they find love and depth and true friendship- I hope you can feel it anyway. Sounds like a book wants to be borne of you, too…

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    1. Interesting interpretation. It is worth a read because it’s such an original concept.

      Books always want to be borne of me. My labor of love hasn’t happened yet. Long gestation.

      I will keep checking on you. You can’t get rid of me that easily.

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      1. Oh I never want to get rid of you from my life. That was made clear by the first grilled cheese sandwich- I know I’ve become an excellent cook especially if I love you. I can look into your beautiful green eyes the colors of the depths of the ocean and see what you need.

        That is the labor of love in wordless flow from one heart to another no explanation required of anyone. To have had six days of understanding and without judgment gave me time to think about my situation and what I’ve been doing and what I can do. As with the time and energy I have left it’s not going to be easy but it will become the foundation of my future -what time is left. Seeing how quickly it can all go away was a huge wakeup call. In New Mexico, in Portland and in Washington state I’ll find what I need near great cancer care and human beings who get it too. That’s ideal so I’ll try to take me and Simon and go. My stress level upon return hit high again – and we can’t get out of here for our health quickly enough.

        Being very happy in the company of understanding brought me deep peace. I thank life for bringing me all of you and for putting the great healing and great sense of urgency brought about by Lori’s death showed me two possible destinies. The choice is clear but how to execute is not. It will become easier as I invest time and making the best life for myself possible alone or not.

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  5. You are seen! I often feel unseen too though, even though I haven’t got mbc and sometimes I think there isn’t space for me in social media. I think this is all part of cancer…

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