Book Reviews

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty: Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Published April 24th, 2012 (first May 1st, 2009) by Berkley.

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes.

Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

“That was the day Alice Mary Love went to the gym and carelessly misplaced a decade of her life.”

This story is told from the perspective of three women: Alice, the titular character, her sister Elisabeth, and her stand-in grandmother, Frannie. Each of the women are dealing with a different set of challenges in their lives.

Alice, having just woken up what appears to be 10 years into her future is reconciling with having amnesia and trying to figure out who this older version of herself is, because she and her life are nothing like how Alice envisioned things going. At the same time, Elisabeth – her perspective told in the form of letters to her therapist (as a form of therapeutic exercise) – is reconciling with her recurrent infertility as her and her husband go through round after round of continued unsuccessful IVF treatment. Meanwhile, Frannie’s is the story of slowly falling in love for the first time in a very long time with a fellow nursing home tenant, told in the form of letters to a long-lost lover.

This story is incredibly heartfelt. If Moriarty’s goal was to create a tale that punches you in the gut over and over again, but had you coming back for more despite the hurt, she truly achieved it.

The characters feel real in this story. I could easily believe they were real people who existed in the real world. Aside from Alice’s boute of amnesia, nothing these characters experience as the story progresses, nor their reactions to such experiences, feel abnormal or unbelievable. Moriarty’s ability to craft such heartbreakingly true-to-life characters adds to this story, making the struggles and triumphs discussed in it feel, for the most part, realistic and candidly relatable.

What Alice Forgot is a story of love, loss, divorce and reconciliation. While a sucker punch to the feelings, this novel isn’t solely meant to make you wallow in them. It’s ending proves there is no gain without loss, and that such things are inevitable in life. What matters most is how you pick yourself back up after the fall; those are the moments that define not only you, but the life you choose to live.

Have you read any good chick lit/romance novels lately?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.


Leave a Reply

Discover more from Literary Liza

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading