Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: What Alice Forgot

Summary: What would happen if you were visited by your younger self, and got a chance for a do-over?

Alice Love is twenty-nine years old, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first child. So imagine her surprise when, after a fall, she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! she HATES the gym!) and discovers that she's actually thirty-nine, has three children, and is in the midst of an acrimonious divorce.

A knock on the head has misplaced ten years of her life, and Alice isn't sure she likes who she's become. It turns out, though, that forgetting might be the most memorable thing that has ever happened to Alice. -- Amy Einhorn

I picked up WHAT ALICE FORGOT by Liane Moriarty a few weeks ago because I thought it sounded light a light, cute story. I figured it had the potential to be a good mom-lit book and I was definitely in the mood for an easy read as I was getting ready to go to BEA. Little did I know that WHAT ALICE FORGOT would be so very good! I was pleasantly surprised by so many things about this novel and I honestly couldn't put it down even though I knew I needed to be writing posts, making lists, doing laundry, ironing, packing, etc. I ended up scrambling to get everything done, but it was so worth it for WHAT ALICE FORGOT!

WHAT ALICE FORGOT tells the story of Alice, a 39 year old mother of three who faints at the gym and wakes up thinking that she is pregnant and 29 years old. Basically, she's "lost" the past ten years of her life. Aside from the shock of everything that's occurred in the past ten years (just think of all the changes in technology alone), Alice and her husband are going through an ugly divorce, her relationship with her sister is strained, and she's seeing a new man! Alice barely recognizes herself... and it's not just because she has new laugh lines and a much thinner (and better dressed) body.

Needless to say, there are plenty of opportunities for humor in parts of the story. And WHAT ALICE FORGOT was filled with lots of funny scenes, but it was also a touching story and one that definitely made me think about my own life. Because Alice basically had to relearn (she wasn't able to remember) everything that happened to her from the time she was madly in love with her husband and pregnant with her first child to the present, she discovers that she's not entirely sure that she likes the woman she's become.As a result of forgetting the past ten years, Alice learns some very important things about her life and the people she loves; and she is forced to evaluate who she wants to be.

This might sound extremely corny, but this book really caused me to think about my own life. And I definitely wasn't expecting that when I picked up the light read. Maybe many readers will feel the same way about Alice's journey, but I think I was especially affected because I could relate to parts of Alice's story. Certainly not the parts about divorcing my husband or the breakdown in the relationship with my sister, but I could relate to how much Alice's life changed in ten years. Like Alice I was pregnant at 29 with my first child and in a very similar situation as her. I couldn't help but compare the choices I've made in the past ten years with the ones Alice made. Neither Alice nor I would have ever thought at 29 years old that we'd be who we are today -- and by that, I mean both the good and the bad. But it is truly amazing for me to think about how much I have "evolved" in just a decade.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT would make a wonderful book club selection especially for groups made up of moms. I  know my book club would have a blast discussing Alice and her "issues." It's obvious by now that the story is extremely entertaining. (In fact, I think it would make a terrific movie!) But the characters and their lives are also very fascinating and ripe for analysis. Alice is perfect for a case study in and of herself, but her sister Elisabeth (who is battling infertility) is also pretty darn interesting. I wasn't able to find a reading guide; however, don't let that deter you. There are so many topics to discuss including family dynamics, marriage, divorce, friendship, grief, fertility problems, motherhood, forgiveness, and redemption.

I thought WHAT ALICE FORGOT was a terrific novel and I highly recommend it. It's an entertaining story that might also make you think about your life. Don't miss it!

Thanks to the publisher for sending a review copy of this wonderful novel.

12 comments:

Karlie said...

Sounds like a good one!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds so good! I wish I could talk my book club into reading it.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I really need to read this one. I've seen nothing but great things about it!

Beth Hoffman said...

Lately I've been hearing good things about this book. Terrific review, Julie!

reviewsbylola said...

I was intrigued by this one from the get go, and now your review has me even more interested!

Alison's Book Marks said...

I swear, anything Amy Einhorn touches turns to gold! I can't wait to read this book - I just can't decide whether to get it for my Georgia trip or my North Carolina trip. :)

Great review as always!

Amy said...

What an intriguing story! It's wonderful, too, that there's a lot of humor in it. I love it when a book I expect to be a light read turns out to be something more compelling and thoughtful!

Thank you for a great review! This is a book for my tbr list!

Rachel said...

Great review! I felt the same way as I was reading it - it made me think about who I was 10 years ago. (And I was also pregnant with my first at 29!) And I agree, it would be a really good movie!

iwriteinbooks said...

I simply have to get my hand son this. Everything Ive read about it makes me so reader-geek-happy. it's on my summer list for sure!

iwriteinbooks said...

This sounds beautiful. I've been all about the historical fiction, lately. Very good stuff.

Laura Fabiani said...

This book sounds absolutely wonderful and my type of book. I too look back and think how things have evolved since I was 29!

Carin Siegfried said...

This sounds so good. It's amazing what can happen in 10 years! My best friend mentioned to me a few years ago that when we met, I wasn't speaking to my sister A and was very close to my sister L. Now, I am not speaking to L and yet A and I talk all the time. I swear it's them, not me (ha!). And 10 years ago, if you'd told me I'd have left New York, I'd have been mighty surprised, yet I've been in NC for 7 years now. I'm putting this book on my TBR list.