Jen A.'s Reviews > What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
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Aug 30, 12

bookshelves: kindle, 2012
Read from August 24 to 27, 2012

Poor Alice... she bumped her head and lost the past 10 years of her life! If you suddenly found yourself living in 2012 but thinking it was 2002, how would you react? Would you like yourself? Would you agree with the choices you've made, the friends you've cultivated, the person you married, the children you've raised?

What Alice Forgot comes from inside the head of Alice, an about-to-turn-40-year-old who suddenly thinks she's 14 weeks pregnant and about to turn 30. Whoops! Oh yes, and since this was her first pregnancy, she doesn't remember having or raising her three children, or how her marriage came to divorce's doorstep. Whoops!

What's interesting is what 30-year-old Alice thinks about 40-year-old Alice. The changes that she makes because she's essentially a different person, how she's able to listen better without years of resentment and examples and assumptions blocking out the words. How differently paced her young self is compared to her old self.

What Alice Forgot is a clever little study on how 10 years can change a person, disguised as a sort of mystery novel as Alice pursues her memories and slowly managed to peel back the layers of who she's become and (perhaps more importantly, WHY).

It was clever of Moriarty to include letters from Frannie (Alice's "adopted" grandmother) to her dead ex-fiance, and also to include letters from Elizabeth (Alice's sister who's having trouble keeping her pregnancies) to her counselor. These two very different perspectives help us to understand Elizabeth as others view her, which is important because when you get married, have kids, start shuttling them around to activities and school, etc., your personal life sort of implodes. Add in your slow change in priorities from others who used to be in your life (Fertiles and Infertiles), and then stir in some new friends and confidants. What the heck, have an absent husband too. POOF! There you have the makings of evolution: a completely different person emerges from these experiences.

What Alice Forgot didn't rely on the old "love makes the world go 'round" adage, instead perhaps asking you to understand that a successful marriage is based on a lot of things -- perhaps one of those things even being shared experiences. A relatively different tune in a world fascinated with L-O-V-E.

I rather liked watching Alice struggle to understand herself, and to cope with the now close memory of how 30-year-old Alice thought and worked when she finally gets her memories back and is able to be 40-year-old Alice again. Somehow, Moriarty keeps Alice from seeming wishy-washy (a blessing), and instead takes you on a journey through time and introspection. A good read.
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