“What Alice Forgot” is a very well written novel that explores what happens to our personalities, priorities and relationships as we age and mature.
The premise is an interesting one – 39-year-old Alice hits her head on the gym floor and loses all memory of the last ten years of her life. In fact, she thinks she’s 29, happily married and pregnant with her first child. She’s shocked to learn that her marriage has fallen apart and that she has three kids, none of whom she remembers. As Alice discovers what she’s become – a type A soccer mom who is a little too obsessed with working out and counting fat calories – her 29-year-old self is a little appalled.
Alice is especially distressed about her failing marriage. She and her husband, Nick, used to adore each other. I loved the memories she had of her early marriage. Not only was there romance, but she and her husband were best friends. The author slowly uncovers the history of what happened during those ten years through Alice’s sister’s journal entries, letters her grandmother writes to a long dead fiance, and conversations Alice has with various people in her life. Ms. Moriarty’s writing is so good that she had me in tears a couple of times and I had a hard time putting the book down. I really wanted to see if Alice and Nick would reconcile. I was cheering for them! (I’m not going to tell you the outcome.)
“What Alice Forgot” really got me thinking. It made me wonder what my 29-year-old self would have thought of my 39-year-old self. It also shines a light on the stress that kids and job responsibilities can put on marriages and relationships with friends and family. And it makes the point that romantic relationships can’t forever be frozen in that early stage where everything is new and exciting. They require work and compromise and need to evolve as the people and circumstances change. Although these are heavy topics, the writing isn’t heavy. In fact, it’s often humorous, which makes it pleasant to read.
I give this book a strong recommendation. I’m looking forward to reading more of Liane Moriarty’s books, even though she violated my no cry policy.