Have you ever felt invisible? Have you ever wanted to be so? I asked these questions to myself when I was reading the novel Invisible Ellen by Shari Shattuck. I enjoyed reading the book and would like to share my thoughts with you.
Ellen Homes is 24 years old. She lives alone with her cat Mouse in a tiny one room apartment. She works nights as a cleaner at Costco, and spends her days observing and recording in her journals the lives of her neighbours, coworkers, and strangers. She was abandoned by her mother and grew up in foster homes. She did not want friends. To Ellen being invisible means not being seen and not being hurt. Then one life changing day, by an ironic twist, Ellen is finally “seen” by a blind woman. That day alters her perspective of life: instead of being apathetic she gets involved when she sees someone in danger.
The messages in the novel are important ones. Social injustice and family are central topics in the book.
I loved how author shows Ellen discovering new emotions. Her new friends Temerity and Justice (the use of the names “Temerity” and “Justice” is intentionally allegorical) give her confidence and courage. Gradually Ellen starts to open up and come to life. Ellen became visible through Temerity’s “eyes” and friendship.
Invisible Ellen is a quirky and character-driven novel about personal transformation and the power of friendship. It is witty, adventurous, heartfelt, and touching.
Next, I will try the following Invisible Ellen read-alikes suggested by Novelist: