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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
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What Alice Forgot (edition 2012)

by Liane Moriarty

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1,5831394,608 (3.91)49
Member:readingrebecca
Title:What Alice Forgot
Authors:Liane Moriarty
Info:Berkley Trade (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 496 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but no longer owned
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction/literature, divorce, marriage, memory loss, family, australia

Work details

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

  1. 10
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» See also 49 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
I must admit that this author continues to surprise me. I likely would not have picked up this book without having read [b:The Husband's Secret|17802724|The Husband's Secret|Liane Moriarty|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1375762213s/17802724.jpg|23986788] and [b:Big Little Lies|19486412|Big Little Lies|Liane Moriarty|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1399582436s/19486412.jpg|27570886] but I am glad I did. Interesting concept that was well executed with likeable characters. Moriarity's publisher needs to stop packaging her books with the silly, frou-frou, chick-lit covers. Her books are more complex than the covers relay. Thorughly enjoyed it. Highly recommend. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
This was alright. I'd read The Husband's Secret, and I thought this one was much better as it's dealing with a slightly smaller cast of characters. I liked "young" Alice from the off, and it was nice to be inside her head. The plot isn't terribly original but it putters along nicely and as I was reading this while I couldn't sleep, I wasn't in the mood for anything that was reinventing the wheel.

I think, for me, the key flaw was that we never really found out what the spark for Alice turning into a super-(obnoxious)-mum was. I understood that she changed over the course of having three children and doing the bulk of the heavy-lifting in terms of caring for them. I also understood that meeting Gina had an effect on her behaviour as regarded herself. However, I felt that none of this was really sufficiently explored. It's strongly implied and I think actually outright stated that Alice's behaviour around about the time of the birth of her third child is not much different from her behaviour as "young" Alice, and I can't see why the thing in the above spoiler would turn her into some kind of crazy obsessive mother. It's unclear how long her completely insane and unhealthy behaviour has been going on and why she would change from being a seemingly normal but flawed mother into a weird Stepford nightmare. I mean, Nick seems like a bit of a dick, but I kind of couldn't blame him for a lot of the stuff she cited as a problem. Like, why was he supposed to dump Mike as a friend after he cheated? Don't most people understand that when you're friends with someone and your spouse is also friends with them, and then you split up, the other person might feel a bit awkward? Like, Mike didn't do anything wrong to Nick. You can disagree with someone's actions and still be their friend! Also, regarding Gina's funeral - if Alice wanted him there so badly, why didn't she just put on her big girl pants and TELL HIM THAT?! She explicitly makes him feel like he shouldn't want to go, and then blames it on him. Similarly, Nick seems to go from a normal guy to a career nut with no explanation. Nothing in the way his character is explained to begin with indicates that he has any interest at all in his own career, then, BOOM, he's a CEO or something. What?! Alice is genuinely one of the most frustrating characters I've ever come across, and the worst of it is that I don't even understand how she became that way.

Regarding the ending it was rushed. I really didn't enjoy the way she gets all of her memories back, and, once again, I didn't really feel like it was necessarily a positive. Alice just seems like a horrible person to be around, and Gina also seems like a miserable, petty, irritant. I just disliked everything about "now" Alice, and I think my least favourite part was how Alice actually seemed proud of becoming a miserable spoilt bratty cow. I could go on and on and on about how, apart from Gina dying, none of her problems are actual problems that couldn't be solved without her TALKING ABOUT THEM IN A REASONABLE MANNER. Alice is just so much kinder, more understanding, more empathetic in her younger form. She hasn't learned anything over those ten years except how to be an awful human being and the worst thing is that she takes it out on her children. She is a genuinely awful mother.

On the children I really sympathised with Madison. She's bratty, yeah, but unlike her mother, she's a child and she's gone through a lot. I hated that Alice made her favouritism towards her other children, in particular Olivia, so clear. At least Madison seems real, even if she is annoying. The middle child might as well not be there for all the attention that gets paid to him - oh, he has dialogue, but god forbid anyone do anything but quickly acknowledge him and move on. Olivia is sickening and I wish she hadn't been in the book because every word out of her mouth made me want to vomit.

But I can't end this review without talking about Elisabeth. Oh, Elisabeth. I wish this novel had been about you. Yes, you were bratty and ill-tempered, and possibly moderately mad, but I Felt everything you felt, and understood everything that you were going through, despite never having been there myself. Your pain was so visceral and real and I couldn't have been happier when you got the ending you deserved; although in some ways I think the braver narrative choice would have been to have her remain infertile, I couldn't begrudge the only real-seeming adult character happiness.

No more Liane Moriarty for me, which is a shame, because she can write. It's just a pity the vast majority of her characters are completely vacuous and insufferable. ( )
  thebookmagpie | Aug 7, 2016 |
Liane Moriarty writes stories mixed with humor and irony. I have read two of her novels and I thoroughly enjoyed Big Little Lies. What Alice Forgot does not provide the laugh found in Big Little Lies, but the light-heartedness remains. Alice bumps her head and loses the memory of ten years of her life. The journey to regain those ten years provides Alice with a bitter look at the current Alice and gives Alice an opportunity to rectify her mistakes. What a wonderful chance, but the story drags in many chapters. The chapters alternate between Alice, her sister, and her adopted grandmother. The sister, writes painfully to her therapist about her inability to have a child and the grandmother writes a blog about Alice. In a sense, the sister’s and grandmother’s voices follow an epistolary novel format reminding me of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela. They might also be used as a Greek chorus to explain the events of the story. The novel ends abruptly with many years elapsed in which the reader misses the “rest of the story”. ( )
  delphimo | Jul 15, 2016 |
I am on page 106, and yet feel compelled to write a review now.

The book starts out well, but you get the feeling as you read further that the author is clutching at sentences to pad this book out, as the plot thins. The amount of body shaming in it is mortifying. For example:

(while Alice is looking at her sister Elizabeth)
"Alice caught a glimpse of her skirt pulling unflatteringly across her stomach and quickly looked away; it made her want to cry."

"It was something you were meant to say to your girlfriends at regular intervals to show you were a proper woman: 'Oh God, I'm so fat!' "
REALLY? Is that what a proper woman does?!

The whole book is littered with references to Alice's formerly perky breasts (after 3 children) and flabby body.

I really enjoyed Little Big Lies, so I'm assuming the author has honed her craft in 4 years, but I'm not sure how much of this book I'm going to read. The only thing keeping me going is wanting to find out about the big incident in her life she can't remember. ( )
  littlel | Jul 14, 2016 |
Probably not the wisest choice after "before I go to sleep" as they are a bit similar. Also not the best choice when I read "the husbands secret" by the same author recently as well. However I did enjoy it. I do think she is a talented writer and I am reading another book by the same author so count me a keen fan. ( )
  Felicity-Smith | May 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
Twenty-nine-year-old Alice Love is pregnant with her first child, adores her husband, Nick, and has never set foot inside a spinning studio. Thirty-nine-year-old Alice Love suffers a sudden fall in her Friday spin class, wakes up with a splitting headache, and finds out she has three children and is in the middle of custody proceedings. Without any concrete memories of the past 10 years, Alice tries to figure out how her free-spirited 29-year-old self became a volunteer-coordinating, spin-class-attending 39-year-old woman. What Alice Forgot is an often funny, sometimes heartrending, deeply personal portrait of a woman attempting to unravel her own mystery.
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For Adam
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She was floating, arms outspread, water lapping her body, breathing in a summery fragrance of salt and coconut.
Quotations
Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It's light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that. But love after three children, after separation and near divorce - after you've hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other, after you've seen the worst and the best - well that sort of love is ineffable. It deserves its own word.
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Alice Love, having woken up on the gym floor and been rushed to the hospital with a head injury, believes she is twenty-nine, expecting her first baby, and madly in love with her husband, but, after realizing she has forgotten ten years of her life and is actually thirty-nine, she is forced to try and piece together what occurred over the past decade to result in her marriage and life not being as she had hoped it would be.
Ze dreef met haar armen wijd, het water zachtjes over haar lichaam klotsend, en ademde de zomerse geur van zout en kokos in. In haar mond hing een prettige nasmaak van een goed vullend ontbijt; gebakken spek en koffie en misschien iets van een croissantje. Ze tilde haar kin op en de ochtendzon scheen zo fel op het water dat ze haar ogen moest dichtknijpen om haar voeten door de glinstering te kunnen zien. De nagels van haar tenen hadden allemaal een andere kleur. Rood. Goud. Paars. Grappig. Wanneer Alice ontwaakt uit een heerlijke droom en erachter komt dat ze in de sportschool een val heeft gemaakt, weet ze dat er iets helemaal mis is. Ze haat sportscholen, dus hoe kan ze daar zijn? Alice’ eerste zorg is haar baby, want ze is hoogzwanger. Ze wil ook graag naar haar echtgenoot Nick. Hij zal zich zeker zorgen maken. Maar Alice ís niet zwanger en Nick is verre van bezorgd. Alice is moeder van drie kinderen en de vijandige Nick is onlangs een echtscheidings-procedure gestart. Alice is tien jaar uit haar geheugen kwijt. In de dagen die volgen komt het verleden stukje bij beetje weer boven en Alice is gedwongen enkele onaangename kanten van zichzelf onder ogen te zien. Haar geheugenverlies is in ieder geval onvergetelijk!
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Suffering an accident that causes her to forget the last ten years of her life, Alice is astonished to discover that she is thirty-nine years old, a mother of three children, and in the midst of an acrimonious divorce from a man she dearly loves.

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