I first heard about What Alice Forgot on one of my favorite podcasts, The Simple Show (Art of Simple Episode 68 – check it out here, it’s awesome!) where the host, Tsh Oxenreider, lists the book as one of her favorite novels.
In the story, Alice Love is a young, carefree 29-year-old who is crazy in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first baby, whom they have lovingly nicknamed “sultana”. At least, that’s what she remembers. One day she wakes up after a nasty fall from a spin bike to find that she is actually a rigid, controlling, exercise-crazed mother of three who is in the midst of a nasty divorce. Oh, and she’s 39. What Alice Forgot follows Alice through her journey of introspection, rediscovery, and learning how to move forward.
I really enjoyed this book. Many of the relationships and circumstances described are familiar to so many of us – from a loved one dealing with infertility, to having that one friend who is like your soul sister, to dealing with those bad habits that have just become automatic, to thinking “what the heck did I get myself into?” when the kids seem out of control and then having your heart melt when they say something sweet.
One aspect that added interest to the story were the sections written from the perspectives of other characters. I thought the melodramatic journal entries written by Alice’s sister were valuable in understanding the dynamic of their relationship and the gravity of what Elisabeth was experiencing, but I could have done without the letters written by Frannie, Alice’s grandmother. The letters did aide in breaking up what could have been monotony in the book, but did not add much to the narrative overall.
Finally, my favorite thing about this book: I can’t think of a single chick-lit novel that has prompted so much reflection in me. Just thinking about my life and the perspective of my young, awkward, high-school self, it was fun to consider what I would think of my life today if I lost memory of the last ten years. What parts of my personality, attitudes, and choices would I be proud of? What parts would I wish were different? Are there any parts I could change to be more in line with who I hoped to be in life? What relationships have changed for the better? Which have changed for the worse? Am I the wife, mother, daughter, and friend I hoped to be? I could go on and on….
What Alice Forgot also reminded me to take in all of the little moments in this season of life and to stay true to the things that are important to me.
All that being said, this book is funny and light-hearted. Moriarty did a remarkable job at balancing the thought-provoking and heavy portions of the book with hilarious situations and sentimental moments.
Title: What Alice Forgot
Author: Liane Moriarty
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Published: May 2010 by PanMacmillan Australia (first published 2009)
Genre: Fiction, Chick-Lit