What do you do when your book club is on a break for the winter months to accommodate families for the holidays? You double down when you get back together, of course! That’s what the Louisville Book Babes did this spring for their first book club back together as a group. Since the group had trouble deciding on a book to read, they chose to read two. However, while The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab, are very different stories, they both deal with the theme of longing for human connection, which seems all too appropriate in the midst of a global pandemic.
What Are These Books About?
In The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, a young woman who wants to live forever makes a deal with the devil that she may have her wish, but as a consequence, she must be forgotten by everyone she encounters. She spends her whole long life traveling and experiencing all that life has to offer, but is unable to form real relationships with people since they don’t remember her for long. But one day, she encounters a man who does remember her, and all of that changes.
While V.E. Schwab’s book jumps through time and space to tell Addie’s story, the characters at the center of The Snow Child stay put in the novel’s brutal time period and even more brutal location. Set in 1920s Alaska, The Snow Child is full of hardship and harsh realities. But in that space, there is also magic. Eowyn Ivey’s take on magical realism, at times, feels like what might happen if Gabriel Garcia Marquez had grown up in a more wintry climate, rather than the Colombian heat. In the novel, a couple, Jack and Mabel, suffer from extreme loneliness in the Alaskan wilderness, and build a snow child during the first snowfall. When the snow child disappears, it is replaced by a real child named Faina who becomes a part of their family and brings light and hope back into their home.
How are these Books Similar?
Both of these novels deal with isolation, but Addie and Mabel deal with that isolation quite differently. While Addie keeps pressing forward, Mabel becomes drawn into herself with despair. This is so interesting because if we look at the people around us, this is how they too have been handling social isolation for the last year–some of them more positively than others. These characters cope with this isolation with magic, which is something that is unavailable to the rest of us. But they also cope with love, which is available in abundance.
Why These Books?
The Book Babes considered other books as well, including An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks, and The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman. But when the vote was torn between The Snow Child and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, the Babes just decided to read both, and we are so glad they did!
CATCHING UP WITH OTHER CLUBS
By Vanessa Hutchison