I seem to be going through a bit of an adoption/abortion/infertility kick lately, it’s strange. In a row, we’ve gone from The Dead-Tossed Waves (adoption), through Handle with Care (adoption and abortion) to end up with What Alice Forgot (adoption and infertility). Isn’t it strange how you end up picking up books with similar themes completely unintentionally?
I borrowed this from the library weeks and weeks ago, but never bothered actually picking it up to read it. I only chose it because my usual city library was closed for renovation so I was in a little village version that basically only carried large-print books for the elderly and YA books in an optimistic yet doomed to fail attempt to get the drug-addled teenagers to read. I was pretty desperate so I grabbed the two books that looked even vaguely readable and left. I read the other one, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book on the train home (my review’s here, see?) and as my review was posted on July 29th, it means I’ve had What Alice Forgot on my shelf for at least six weeks. I swear, I bet the library wishes they’d never given me a damn card in the first place.
Anyway, I’ve read it now and I can’t say my life has been enriched. I mean, it’s alright, but it isn’t quite sure what it’s meant to be. It’s part-chick lit and part- serious family saga.. It’s perfectly readable and I don’t regret the time spent doing so, but I’d have preferred it if it chose a genre and stuck with it.
There was only one likeable character in the whole book – Alice’s sister, Elizabeth. I found Alice to be whiny, Nick to be rude, Barb to be oblivious and Alice’s new friends so be so obnoxious I wanted to punch them. I know that the whole point of the book is to show how Alice’s life has gone completely to pot due to her failed relationships, but I couldn’t even muster sympathy for the heroine.
The ending seemed a little anti-climactic to me. Because the book starts with young Alice, that seemed ‘correct’ in a way. It read as though that version of Alice had leaped forward, instead of the older Alice looking back. Because of this, it seemed like the happy ending should be young Alice back in her old body, vowing not to make the same mistakes again or whatever. When that didn’t happen, it just seemed kind of boring.
I don’t mean to slate this book. It wasn’t at all as bad as I’ve accidentally made it sound. It’s just one of those books that you enjoyed reading but you don’t particularly feel the need to ever pick up again.