Book Review: What Alice Forgot

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December’s book of the month was What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.

I have participated in my second book club with Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers. I am in love with her blog and I love that she hosts a book club each month where readers can follow along with her own reviews of the book and the thoughts of others.  You can check out her book review of 13 Reasons Why and it also includes a link to my review of the book!

I have posted about this before, but I have a tendency to pick up books that are recommended to me (or because I like the look of their shiny cover) and I don’t always read what it is about. I knew that this book was going to be good because I saw it was recommended by Oprah as a Romantic Winter Read – who doesn’t like Oprah books!?

I’ll get on with my review in a hot second, but I did want to point out how the reading of this book went. First, I went to the library and checked it out (for as much as I love to read I can’t afford to buy all the books!!). Secondly, I gasped at the fact that it was 432 pages and thought “there’s no way I’m going to finish this over my break from classes”. Thirdly, I brought it home and started reading.  Lastly, it was completed in 2 days. I could not put the book down. How’s that for a recommendation??

Plot:

The book opens up in a spinning class. Alice, the main character, was completing a spin class when she passed out and fell off her bike and hit her head.  When she gains consciousness, she thinks it is 10 years prior to when it actually is.  She is confused as to why she is working out (Alice NEVER works out), she’s confused as to why she has c-section scars (she was pregnant with her first child, after all), she has NO idea who any of the people are in her class, and all she wants is her husband to come to the hospital with her (who she’s in the middle of a divorce with).  Imagine losing 10 years of your memory… concussions are a crazy thing!

Characters:

This book had many characters, but I am only going to review a few of them that I thought were instrumental in this novel.

Alice – Alice could maybe be considered the 39 year old “super mom”.  She lives on coffee, committees, low-fat banana muffins, and exercise.  She holds her kids to a strict schedule and diet and doesn’t allow for much wiggle room.  She is a woman in charge, who does what she wants when she wants to.  Yet, we learn throughout the book that she hasn’t always been this way. Alice was once an easy-going, care free woman who wanted nothing but to have a sweet, simple life with her husband and children.  She had a great relationship with her sister, mother, and “adopted” grandmother and worked hard to please people and be the best wife and mother possible. These traits changed over time, mostly due to a new friendship with her neighbor.  This new friendship led to a crumbling in Alice’s foundation and she found herself with children she doesn’t know and understand and a relationship with her husband that has dwindled resulting in a divorce.

Elizabeth – A once loving, personable, outgoing individual. Elizabeth transforms through this book from a supportive and loving sister to a woman stricken with grief and loss from multiple failed pregnancies.  All she wanted was to be a mother and it engulfed her daily life, including her relationship with her husband.  Elizabeth hides behind an occupation as a motivational speaker yet suffers deeply inside.  Over time she has grown astray from her sister as their lives have taken two separate paths. Yet, it’s Elizabeth that helps Alice through her amnesia, delicately giving her the information to remind her of the woman she had become. In this book, we follow Elizabeth’s character through her interactions with her sister, her husband, and mostly her journal to her therapist.

Frannie – Frannie is the “adopted” grandmother of Alice and Elizabeth.  She was a neighbor of theirs and came into their lives after their father had died when the girls were little – she helped take care of them while their mother was deep in grief.  Frannie seems to be a beautiful lady who lost herself when her fiance died while they were in their 30s.  The book is filled with letters that Frannie has written her dead fiance over the years.  Frannie develops throughout the book, especially as she expands her mind and lets love in while enjoying life at the retirement home.

Madison – Madison is Alice’s oldest child.  I included her in with the main characters because I was really intrigued by her and wish that I would have been able to learn more about her character.  With her parents suffering through a nasty divorce, poor little Madison seemed to get lost in the mix, something that probably happens more often than anyone would like to admit.

Recommendation:

I give this book a 5/5. I loved it.

It was a very witty but complex 432 pages with multiple stories being shared at once. It took me a little while to really grasp what all was happening with the development of the various characters, but it was addicting.  I loved the individual development of each of the characters and seeing how they all related and built off of one another.  While I am not an author in the slightest, I think it would be very difficult to write a novel like this and I think that Moriarty did an excellent job.

I was very surprised with how easy of a read it was. It’s not too often that I find a book that I can’t and don’t want to put down. I love it when I find a book like that.

While doing some research for what to write for this book review, I stumbled upon this site, BlogHer, and read through the reviews for What Alice Forgot. My favorite part is when it was said that it would have been nice for Alice to have a blog… haha how true! What a great way for her to relive and revisit her life than through a blog. After all, do we really blog for people to read it? Or do we blog for us?

Book Information:

  • Reading level: Ages 18 and up
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425247449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425247440
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
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