Review: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

What Alice ForgotPages: 487
Format: Kindle Edition

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital when she discovers the honeymoon is truly over – she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how it is that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes.

Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

Alice wakes up on the floor of a gym believing she’s twenty-nine years old, newly married, and pregnant with her first child… and completely confused that she would step foot in a gym in the first place. Then she learns she’s actually thirty-nine years old, has three children, and is in the process of divorcing her husband.

This book really made me think about where I am now in life. If I were twenty, and thinking forward to now, there are some things I would have expected to stay the same that have changed, and others that I thought would have changed that have stayed the same. I’m definitely in a different place in life than I expected at that age, and while I had met my husband, we weren’t dating yet. I suspect it would be a SLIGHT shock to learn that I ended up marrying the guy I met online six months ago, and that he had moved across the Atlantic Ocean to be with me. XD

I suspect some of this book’s impact was lost on me, since I’m in a very different stage of life than 39-year-old Alice – my situation is a bit closer to that of 29-year-old Alice. That said, it was still a really interesting and intriguing read from that point of view – I found myself able to relate to 29-year-old Alice fairly well, and it made me wonder what my life will be like in ten years.

I loved the way Alice’s memories inserted themselves into her life as she progresses throughout the book – the way her “old” self pops in with a completely different voice and attitude from that of the younger Alice. I loved the way Moriarty did that.

The only thing that didn’t really work for me (at least, initially) were the way that Elisabeth’s journal entries and Frannie’s letters are inserted. I’m not sure if it was partially due to reading an eBook edition or not, but the ending of those sections was very abrupt and didn’t look to be properly separated from the others, so that was jarring at first until I figured out that the indentation changing back indicated the end of the letter/entry. Their storylines also seem completely “off-topic” for the most part, considering the blurb on the back of the book, but they do eventually come together and help form part of the larger story. But until I figured that out and became interested in their storylines, those parts had a tendency to feel somewhat like they were tacked onto the story. In the end, though, I think they worked – just thought the implementation was not as good as it could have been.

I’m really glad my book club selected this book to read because I don’t think it’s something I would have picked up on my own, though I thought the blurb was really interesting. Overall, I really enjoyed this read and highly recommend it. I’ll definitely be checking out more of Liane Moriarty’s work in the future!

Rating: 4.5 stars