Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: What Alice Forgot

'What Alice Forgot'
Author: Liane Moriarty

Format: ARC
Published: Amy Einhorn Books; June 2011
Pages: 432
Genre: Women's fiction
Grade: A
Source: Publisher

Synopsis: Alice Love is twenty-nine years old, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first child. So imagine her surprise when, after a fall, she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! she HATES the gym!) and discovers that she's actually thirty-nine, has three children, and is in the midst of an acrimonious divorce. 

A knock on the head has misplaced ten years of her life, and Alice isn't sure she likes who she's become. It turns out, though, that forgetting might be the most memorable thing that has ever happened to Alice.

My Take: This was one of those books that had been getting a lot of buzz this summer so I was certainly excited to read it. It had all of the facets of a book that I normally like to read, a women struggling with her relationship and family but it had a twist. She can't remember any of these people!

Our title character, Alice, starts the book quite dramatically. She is working out at the gym and falls and bumps her head severely. The ensuing concussion causes her to lose her memory from the last ten years of her life. In reality it is 2008 and she is 39 with three kids and is getting a divorce. In her confused memory, she is 29 and pregnant with her first child with the love of her life, her husband Nick. Can you even imagine losing your memory from the last ten last ten years of your life and getting to glimpse everything that has happened to you at a rapid pace? You can imagine that it would be both fascinating and heart-wrenching at the same time and that is exactly the experiences that Moriarty has captured for the reader.

Twenty-nine year old Alice was easy going and friendly to everyone. She had a job but also had a lot of friends. Her and her sister Elisabeth were incredibly close and her husband Nick and her were so in love. They had just bought their dream home and were fixing it up. What Alice learns as she has lost her memory is that 39 year old Alice is not as nice. She is 'busy'. She doesn't work but is a homemaker and mother to three. Her children are stressed out from the divorce and there are behavioral issues. Her beloved husband and her clearly have some serious issues with each other, her neighbors that she used to get along with so well shun her, and weirdly her sister who she used to tell everything to doesn't seem to be close to her anymore. 

It's hard to read while Alice figures this all out. It's not a faced paced book as the memories slowly come back to her and the reasons behind her actions become apparent to her. You start to wonder if you yourself would make these same choices and how life does make its twists and turns making it a fascinating book for book clubs I would think.

Also, interspersed between the main novel are journal entries from Alice's sister Elizabeth as she struggles with her infertility and letters from Alice's grandmother to a long lost lover. 

All of this adds up to a book that, while not a fast read, it is certainly one that gets into your subconscious and makes you think of who you are as a person and who you want to become. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know it is one that will stay with me for quite some time. 

Also, I saw on Liane Moriarty's website that the movie rights to this book have been purchased which I am very excited about because the whole time I was reading this I kept thinking that this would make a great movie.

Cover Lust: Ok, I'm going to get a little harsh here. This cover is ugly is my mind. They could have done so much with it and instead they stuck some clip art in some thought bubbles and called it a day. Not very captivating!


  1. I've been really curious about this book. I think I would really enjoyed it. I'm adding this one to my wish list. Great review!

  2. sounds like a captivating read...on my list now.

  3. This is a very thoughtful review. I almost picked up this book in the library yesterday--now I'll go back and get it! Thanks.

  4. This is one of my fav reads of 2011 so I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope the movie isn't changed from the book in terms of location, etc.

  5. The premise sounds rather far-fetched. Accidents happen but the gym? Really?

    That cover is less than creative. I agree with you.

  6. Sounds like a book that makes you think even if the plot seems a bit much. I'm not digging the cover either.

  7. I'm not crazy about the cover either, but I sure did love the book. It really made me think about life.

  8. I had a different cover to this one. I found it an unusual read. Different from my normal genre and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  9. Holly - thanks for the compliments! Hope you enjoy it when you read it!

    Mary - me too. I really hope the movie remains in Australia.

    Ti - Well she fell off of a spin bike if that helps!

    Anna- it's worth trying for sure.

  10. This one looks good and I like that you said it makes you look at who you are and who you want to be. Since I hit 40 last month that's something that's been on my mind.

  11. I definitely agree about the cover -- I've never liked it! But I've heard such good things about this one that I made sure to grab a copy. Looking forward to reading it soon!

  12. I really enjoyed this book, and thought the cover was neat cause those pictures are actually insets.


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