Review What Alice Forgot: A novel by Liane Moriarty

This winning not-quite amnesia story parses what happens when Alice, a married mother of three whose marriage is disintegrating, takes a knock on the head and comes to thinking she is herself, but 10 years younger and in the middle of a blossoming young marriage, with her first child on the way. As younger Alice adjusts to her older life and body, she finds much to be surprised at: a wealthy lifestyle she never dreamed of, a rejuvenated mother with a surprising love interest, and a sister whose life has turned out unexpectedly disappointing. And everyone is so sorry for something that happened with her best friend Gina, whom she doesn’t remember, but apparently who helped sow the seeds of her marriage’s collapse. But as the young Alice takes over the older Alice’s life and applies her goofy, laissez-faire approach to living, the tension builds: what will happen if old Alice regains her memory? Alice’s journey of reconciling herself to how her life came to be what it is, and her slowly building understanding of how the threads of her marriage began to unravel, is moving, well-paced, and thoroughly pleasurable.

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Review

Praise for What Alice Forgot

“Funny and knowing…[about] what we choose to remember, and fight to forget.”—O Magazine

“The gripping story of a woman who wakes up with a bump on her head and no knowledge of the past ten years…an acutely observed romantic comedy that is both thought-provoking and funny.”—Marie Claire (UK)

“The affecting tale of Alice’s chance for a ten-year do-over.”—The New York Times

“Grabbed me on the first page…a deep and wondrous novel.”—New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice

“I loved this book. It has, for me, everything that makes a good novel excellent.”—New York Times bestselling author Jeanne Ray

“Heartfelt, witty, and thought-provoking…a story you’ll remember.”—New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Crusie

“Highly addictive.”—She Magazine (UK; Book of the Month)

“I loved this original read.”—The Sun (UK)

“Funny and captivating.”—Closer (UK)

“Winning…well-paced, and thoroughly pleasurable.”—Publishers Weekly

“An often funny, sometimes heartrending, deeply personal portrait of a woman attempting to unravel her own mystery.”—Booklist

“Moriarity makes this more than just a one-note story, weaving in a plotline involving Alice’s childless sister…intriguing…will keep readers guessing and curious to know more about Alice.”—Library Journal

About the Author

Customer reviews

Carissa Rogers

I don’t give out a lot of 5 stars.

THIS. Was worth it. Spoke to me on several levels. In fact parts were painful to read since it felt like Moriarty was describing my life, and I didn’t like what I saw? I think you can describe this as Chick-Lit… which I normally wouldn’t be thrilled to read, but dang. I LOVED this book for so many reasons.

I’m 39, I have 3 kids, my husband is in the middle of the crazy part of his career and travels a TON, I can’t seem to say no to anything–volunteering at school, church, scouts you name it. And lately I’m going slightly insane with it all. Yeah… all points are the same for Alice.

I didn’t hit my head and forget the last ten years of my life and so far I’m keeping my marriage together but it sure makes ya think twice.

Easily the best takeaway from this book is the way everyone around Alice finds they are seeing their OWN lives in reflection to Alice’s memory of them from ten years ago. And they don’t much like what they see either. Alice of course isn’t very happy about the changes made in her life and through witty remarks and often hilarious mis-discoveries she works out what has happened to her in the past ten years (including ‘meeting’ her children for the ‘first’ time!).

Favorite ‘scene’: When the oldest daughter is in BIG trouble and instead of immediate punishment, they simply spend some time with her and sure enough SHE shares what happened in a much more meaningful way than yelling at her ever would have done. LOVED That.

I sure could have done with less ‘F-words’? Seemed a bit egregious, didn’t mean to but I stopped counting at 10+ by half way through the book.

Makes ya think? What have I done in the past ten years? What did I want to become? What HAVE I become? And what would I change if I could?

What Alice Forgot, Makes me want to remember to become a better person by the time I’m 49.

Kristi 

If I were to forget the last ten years of my life, and wake up with no memory of those ten years…..what would I regret? What would surprise me? What would make me proud? Which relationships have changed for the better, which ones have changed for the worst? This book really made me think. Have I evolved into the person, wife, and mother that I envisioned ten years ago. My poor husband had to listen to my thoughts almost chapter by chapter. He is such a good sport! I liked so much about this book. I love a happy ending. I liked the letters that Frankie wrote Phil. I liked the letters Elizabeth wrote her therapist. I loved Elizabeth. I love how the story was told through the different perspectives. loved the young Alice and learned to love the “old” Alice. How fun to be lost in a book! As a warning there is some bad language.

Linda

I put “What Alice Forgot” on hold so many times that I felt like a receptionist at a medical center. It’s so unfair to do this to a book, but I’ll blame life, because it just happens. I was also a bit hesitant reading my second novel by Liane Moriarty. I had loved “The Husband’s Secret,” and sometimes it’s difficult for an author to write another equally successful novel. Thanks to this author, Alice was always amazingly fresh in my mind, every time I would start reading again. There are not a lot of books that could have survived all the interruptions this one had.

After Alice suffers amnesia from a gym accident, she awakens as the woman she was mentally ten years earlier; in an older, “younger-looking” body; to a foreign lifestyle; and surrounded by many friends she doesn’t even know. If that isn’t difficult enough to have to struggle with, she has three children who were born during those lost years, and she finds out she is divorcing the husband she adores.

All the other characters in this novel contributed greatly to the storyline. Each one was so unique and endearing, with their own lives closely woven into Alice’s. Moriarty had me cheering for them, also.

I thought the concept of losing the last ten years of your life made a very fascinating storyline. Going through the journey with Alice trying to right the mistakes and accept the realities was filled with heartache, frustration, suspense, surprises, and plenty of laughter.

Highly recommend to those who want an entertaining book with likable characters.
4.5 stars.

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