Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What Alice Forgot

by Liane Moriarty
published: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2011 (originally 2009)
pages: 423 pages

What happens when Alice falls off her bike during a workout session?  *Spoiler alert* she loses that last ten years of her life.  She faints as a 39-year-old with three children, going through a particularly rough divorce and wakes up as a 29-year-old who is madly in love with her husband and thinks she's pregnant with their first child.  Alice has to navigate her new life as her old self.  She begins to see just how much ten years can change a person and she notices that it's not always change for the better.  The missing ten years might just be a blessing in disguise.

I loved the idea of this book right off the bat; a woman forgetting the last 10 years of her life.  She gets a do-over.  Something so many people want but never actually get.  Alice gets the chance to look at her life objectively and decide to change the things she doesn't like.  It's a different kind of time-travel.

The very beginning was good because it immediately captures the attention of the reader.  The accident happens and everyone is confused because Alice is confused.  At first, the reader only gets Alice's side of the story, so we know what she knows and it's not a lot.

The book has three narrators: Alice, Alice's pseudo grandmother - Frannie, and Alice's sister - Elisabeth.  Alice narrates the story, Frannie writes letters to her fiance, and Elisabeth writes a journal as suggested by her therapist.  I like there three different distinct narrations.  I was never confused as to who was speaking and I thought it was great that the modes of storytelling were different for each character as well.

The pacing of the book was quite slow for my taste, although it did pick up near the end.  Aside from the initial shock of memory loss at the beginning, it dragged.  It felt like Alice was dealing with the same issues over and over again.  I'm sure I would have liked this book a whole lot more if the pacing hadn't been so slow.  I will say the end/epilogue was fantastic.  I really enjoy that section of the book.

Stars: 3/5


"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 acutely observed romantic comedy that is both thought-provoking and funny."
     --Marie Claire

"The affecting tale of Alice's chance for a ten-year do-over."
     --The New York Times

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