John's Reviews > What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
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A few months ago I picked this up along with Moriarty's Big Little Lies at a book sale, assuming both to be twisty psychological thrillers along the lines of her The Husband's Secret, which I moderately enjoyed a while back. It was only when I pulled What Alice Forgot off the shelf the other day and started reading it that I discovered it's actually more of a (romantic) comedy of manners.

Alice Love falls off her exercise bike at the gym and hits her head. When she regains consciousness she discovers that she's lost, entirely, her memories of the past ten years. She's no longer 29-year-old Alice, expecting her first child with adored husband Nick; she's 39-year-old Alice, mother of three kids and in the midst of an acrimonious divorce. She's even acquired a lover, although at first she's not certain if he's actually a lover yet or merely an aspirant. Somehow she has to cope with a life as someone new whom she's never met before and whom she isn't even sure she very much likes . . .

The book takes forever to get off the ground -- it's about 150 pages before she gets home from a night's observation in the hospital after her fall -- but, once it does, it's enjoyably addictive, and in places very funny: if you're in a bookshop or library and spot this edition, try pages 334-41 as a sampler. Most of the characters are fairly well realized, although Alice's kids -- in particular Tom, the middle one -- seem more like collections of stereotyped attributes than actual personalities. The twists, too, are in general nicely handled, although a few seem contrived, with information being held back from us through auctorial self-indulgence rather than the dictates of events.

All in all, then, I found What Alice Forgot to be a fun read that didn't tax the ol' gray cells too much. My edition has nearly 30 pages of crap at the back, including a teaser chapter from another novel and one of those pretentious Readers' Guides that paperback publishers are so determined to inflict upon us. Since What Alice Forgot is really a bit of fluff -- and works pretty well at that level -- the addition of such architecture seems a waste of trees.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 16, 2018 – Shelved
June 16, 2018 – Finished Reading

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