Well, this book review is SUPER late in the day because it’s been a long crazy week and we have a million things to do this weekend and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. But Sara and Noelle and I are reviewing What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty this month, so on I go! As always, don’t forget to check Sara’s blog and Noelle’s blog for their reviews and outfits! We all had different covers this time, which makes it super interesting.
Side note, I will be making a BBRBF Book Club book review newsletter if you want to sign up for it, so keep your eye out for that! It will have news about future books, links to our past reviews, and who knows what else.
As always, here’s the summary via the back of the book:
Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine her surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (She hates the gym!) and is whisked off to the hospital to find out the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually thirty-nine years old. Now Alice must reconstruct a lost decade — and try to reconstruct her life at the same time. Ultimately, she must discover if forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and if it’s possible to start over…
Somehow this novel was not quite what I expected, but not in a bad way. Most of the book is Alice trying to remember her life. She has a bad fall at the gym, and the concussion whisks away her memory of the last ten years, years in which her children were born, her life began to change, she and her husband separated, and events took place which seemed to drive a rift between her and the love of her life forever. And everything revolves around the mysterious Gina.
I wasn’t expecting to spend half the book in Alice’s head just trying to place people and waiting to meet Nick, her husband, who was once the center of her life and now despises her. As she speaks to more and more people in her life — her mother, her sister, her friends — she realizes that she somehow has changed from a young, sweet, slightly pudgy, unassuming girl into an in-charge, bossy, skinny, and sometimes hated woman. But she doesn’t know how. She is shocked to find that many people fear or hate her, that her once lovely husband can barely stand the sight of her, that her sister — with whom she had an amazing close relationship — barely shares anything of her life any more, and that all of the friends she has are women she can barely stand. And she has become one of them. As the book goes on and Alice works to remember what happened, what drove Nick away or her away, who her children are, how she and her sister drifted apart, and why she’s changed from her former silly and lovable self into a hard, cold person, the tragedy of it all really struck me. I loved how the author drew her ever nearer and nearer to understanding why she had become the person she had become; at first, it seems improbable that Alice of 1998 would ever become the Alice of 2008. She was too happy, too frivolous, too full of life and love and wonder for the world. The Alice of 2008 is bitter and harsh, angry, obsessive, and sometimes hateful. But as she remembers, it begins to make sense. I admired the reality that Moriarty injected into the story, how each thing that changed Alice was not some huge ridiculous event, but the little things. Her husband becoming too involved with work. Making a friend who changed her interests. Becoming obsessed with thinness. Falling in love with the feeling of control over her once chaotic — but lovely — life.
I enjoyed reading What Alice Forgot, but I also enjoyed that it was over quickly. The way it’s written is very intense, and also very akin to several other stories I’ve read in the voice the author uses. It feels very familiar, which was something I didn’t like, but it also reads very well. By the end, I felt emotionally drained — though I don’t know if that was the book, or this week — and satisfied by a good story.
Entire outfit, thrifted or vintage
I don’t think What Alice Forgot is necessarily my type of story. It’s a great story, and it’s interesting and well written, but it was a little too real for me. I enjoy the fairytale types more; I want to escape life rather than feel like this could be my life one day (not in the literal sense, but you know what I mean.) I would recommend it if you enjoy reality type stories; you will be riveted. But if you’re like me, you might get a little too emotional over all of the “what if’s” presented. What if your life goes this way?
Yeah. I don’t like that feeling, and it’s a credit to the author that I’m glad the story is over — it was too real and raw for me!
I’m sorry if this month’s review sounds a bit rushed; obviously I am posting super late, and this week has been insane, and I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. I’m hoping this weekend — weddings and camping — will help a bit!
Did you read What Alice Forgot? What did you think?