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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

13 Feb

When Alice comes to after falling off her exercise bike and hitting her head on the handle bars during her spin class, her first thought is about her unborn child. Is little Sultana (the nickname that Alice and her husband – Nick – came up with for the baby) all right? Her second thought is of Nick. He is going to be so worried about her and the baby. And once he realizes it’s no big D, he’s going to laugh at Alice’s characteristic klutzy-ness.

But it is a big D. And Alice realizes this soon after she gets to the hospital. When her sister – Elizabeth – comes to visit her, Alice can’t help but notice the coldness in her eyes and words. Her mom is also unrecognizable when she comes in. It isn’t until the doctor comes in and begins asking routine questions to check for brain damage that we realize the extent of Alice’s injury. She thinks it’s 1998. It’s really 2008.

Alice forgot everything, ya’ll. This would be bad in the best of circumstances but, you guys! Things. Have. Changed. And Alice realizes this most painfully when she calls her husband, Nick, to explain the ordeal and all she gets back is an angry and profane response accusing her of being a manipulative wretch. A dumbstruck Alice hangs up the phone after the tirade and only then is told by Elizabeth just what she’s forgotten. Alice is not 29, newly married, and expecting her first child. She is 39, has three children, and is in the middle of a divorce and a nasty custody battle.

That sucks.

Liane Moriarty does a superb job of slowly revealing exactly what happened to Alice during those forgotten ten years that changed everything. She uses every character in the book – Alice’s sister, sisters-in-law, mother, grandmother, husband, boyfriend (GASP!), children and fellow PTA-Moms – to unwrap her life like a highly anticipated present. And because each character’s loyalty is split between Alice and/or Nick, getting an accurate idea of just what happened in their relationship seems impossible.

Moriarty writes so elegantly and with such emotion that you can’t help falling in love with every character. Even those who say the ugliest things. The book also holds wonderful moments of humor. Like when Alice decides that the best way to jog her memory is to throw herself into her regular, every-day schedule even though she has no idea what that is. Hilarity ensues:

No kidding, Alice!

But the kicker is this: through most of the book, Moriarty has you hoping that Alice will get her memory back so that you can finally understand what the hell happened to cause Alice and Nick to part ways. But in the meantime, Alice and Nick are getting closer! And even though Nick is convinced that when Alice gets her memory back she won’t want to anymore, he is willing to try being a couple again. REJOICE, right?! But what if Alice gets her memory back? Do we really want the divorce proceedings to get back on track? Noooooooooooo! Except maybe?

I give this book 4.8 coffees out of five. I HIGHLY recommend you all read this. It is some good story telling.

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