In ‘What Alice Forgot’ by Liane Moriarty, Alice Love is a 39 year old who falls off of her bike during a spin class at her gym. She bumps her head hard enough to give herself amnesia. She’s forgotten the last ten years of her life. She wakes up, thinking she’s 29, happily married and pregnant with her first child. She discovers to her dismay that she’s in the process of a divorce and is the mother to three children who are strangers to her.
I loved this book! It caught my attention right from the start. As the story unfolded, I kept turning pages and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. My book club group chose this book, and I finished it in a matter of days. I just kept reading it and reading it. At first I felt sorry for Alice who is so disoriented and confused. As she begins to unravel bits and pieces of her memory, I began to think that 39 year old Alice had not been a very nice person. Everyone kept telling her they’d lost touch because Alice had been so “busy”. Older Alice was busy running kids to and fro and was involved in several different committees and projects. I enjoyed the interaction between Alice and her husband, Nick. Nick had also changed as the years went on, and he was a bit of a workaholic. Alice kept trying to win him back. Complicating matters, older Alice also had a boyfriend, Dominick, who is also the school principal. I didn’t care as much for Dominick. He was too nice, and everyone in the story worried about Alice hurting his feelings. I didn’t care and found myself hoping she’d dump him!
Without giving away the ending, Alice, of course, gets her memory back. She must then decide what she will do. I liked that she didn’t just go back to being old busy, (bitchy) Alice. She realizes that there are now two Alices – younger, calmer, nicer Alice and the older and wiser Alice. She blends the two and comes up with a happy ending. I also liked that this book told two other stories in a unique fashion. We hear Alice’s Grandmother, Frannie’s story, too. Frannie is writing letters to tell her tale. We also hear Alice’s sister, Elizabeth’s story, and Elizabeth is writing a journal. The book jumps back and forth between their different viewpoints, and I thought this was kind-of an interesting way to progress through the story. I thought the character development and interaction was great. Yes, there were some cheesy, oddball characters, but they did not spoil the book. I highly recommend this one.