Book Review: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

“Each memory, good and bad, was another invisible thread that bound them together...It was as simple and complicated as that. Love after children, after you've hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other and surprised each other, after you've seen the worst and the best...-well, that sort of love is ineffable. It deserves its own word.”

― Liane Moriarty, What Alice Forgot

In 2009, Australian novelist Liane Moriarty published the book What Alice Forgot. It depicts the tale of a 39-year-old mother of three who loses her recollection of the previous ten years of her life. This is Moriarty's third novel.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes.

Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

My reaction to this novel...

The book's cover has greatly piqued my interest in reading it. Since I am one of those readers who is drawn in by book covers, the majority of the books I have read have beautiful covers that entice people to pick them up and read them. Although I am not all that familiar with the author, I have seen a lot of her books in shops and am aware of how amazing they are, so I had high expectations for this book.

I don't know whether I'm the only one, but it seems that the majority of Alice-centric books deal with memories in some way. I'm not sure whether it's simply a coincidence, but I've read other books with memory issues under the name Alice, and this one seems pretty intriguing. Well, I read the book right away because I was so interested in finding out what happened to Alice in it.

The first few pages are easy to read and pleasant. It will pique readers' curiosity since you'll consider what actually occurred to the protagonist and how her brain suffered damage after falling to the gym, which is why she had the condition she is currently experiencing, memory loss. In some ways, I find it suspicious since it occurs in such an unbelievable manner. But, because that's what the author prefers, I'll dive right in.

The story's presentation of each chapter's opposing viewpoint caught my attention. You could be wondering who they are and what their roles are in Alice's memory loss, so it was a little confusing. They occasionally make the chapter terrible and uninteresting, so for me, it was a little odd. Perhaps it would be better if the author divided the other characters' points of view into distinct chapters so that the reader wouldn't become confused about who and what they were saying. Apart from that, I find the tale to be really sluggish. There are times when you'll really want to know what happened before the gym fall event, but the author will leave you feeling ravenous without providing a sustaining follow-up that will rescue the entire plot.

Every time Alice asks a character why she and Nick filed for divorce and they refuse to answer, I imagine that the reason they reveal will either shock me or at least make sense as to why they are withholding it from her. As a result, I became patient because I was curious to learn the reasons, but sadly, I found the justifications to be incredibly superficial, which made me feel betrayed. Is that all there is, I found myself wondering. Is that the sole explanation? I don't think the reasoning behind it is appropriate, hence the author has to come up with a stronger argument. I find the narrative to be ludicrous. I became quite annoyed because I was hoping there would be a decent explanation for it because the story frequently dragged on, not only because of the sluggish pace but also because the author used the name of The Almighty too frequently and did so in an impolite manner. It irritates me so much that frequently she used it for cussing that I'm really skipping the phrases containing it. The author should be aware of this.

However, despite the fact that this book has a lot of elements that I don't like, it also has one aspect and one character that I enjoy, and that is Elizabeth, Alice's sister. I could feel her agony and her deep desire every time I read her part. I truly root for her, am continually thinking about her predicament, and anticipate that she will play a significant role in the resolution of the narrative. I can truly relate to her character and how dejected she has gotten as a result of her circumstances.

Because this narrative genuinely let me down, I sincerely hope that Moriarty's subsequent works will differ from this one in more significant ways. I'm hoping that her subsequent books will have a stronger plot, be less tedious, and include less profanity. This book is not very recommending to me, and it won't be on my list of favorites. I didn't enjoy this book, but I'll try reading some of her other works in the future.

My Overall Rating: 


Where to buy this book...


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