Book Review: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

what alice

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Alice Love has just woken up after hitting her head during a spin class, and can’t understand her life.  Her husband, Nick, hasn’t called to check up on her, people keep reminding her of her upcoming 40th birthday (although she swears she’s not even 30), and supposedly the names Madison, Tom, and Olivia are supposed to mean something to her, but she’s drawing a blank.  That’s when her sister Elizabeth informs her that yes, she really is about to turn 40 (not 30), she is in the middle of divorcing Nick, and Madison, Tom, and Olivia are actually her children.

I absolutely loved What Alice Forgot.  While it reads like an easy beach/ summer book, it is incredibly thought-provoking.  When Alice woke up from her head injury, she has forgotten the past 10 years of her life, which includes the birth of her children, the tragic events involving her best friend, the demise of her relationship with Nick, and her struggling relationship with her older sister, Elizabeth.  Slowly, she must piece together the events which have led to relationship with each person in her life.

Alice is an enjoyable and likable character.  Right off the bat readers know that pre-accident Alice and post-accident Alice are vastly different, but figuring out who is she was is a journey for both Alice and the reader.  Her thought process after the accident reminded me a lot like that of an innocent child; it seems that with her accident, she has forgotten the subtle nuances and complexities of adult relationships.  For example, she constantly wonders why her and Nick are separated, and what led up to that decision.  Every argument with Nick she remembers or is reminded of, she questions whether or not it was petty and trite, and worth ending a relationship over.  And I loved how she wonders and doubts her own actions, decisions.  Her accident brings clarity, and she can’t believe some of the things she used to argue over or the way she treated people.

Alice’s temporary amnesia is a way for her to hit the reset button on her life. She gets a second chance at her relationships, and gets the opportunity to make better choices, and ultimately improve her life.

I can’t say enough good things about What Alice Forgot. It was fun, captivating, and engaging.   I found myself rooting for Alice, and although I wanted her to remember, I was also rooting for her to change for the better. Moriarity’s look at relationships, how they are cultivated and change over time is interesting, resonated with me, and hopefully will resonate with readers as well. After reading this book and loving it, I can’t wait to read Moriarity’s other works.


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