Review: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

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?

Imagine losing the most important ten years of your life …
Alice is twenty-nine.She adores sleep, chocolate, and her ramshackle new house.She’s newly engaged to the wonderful Nick and is pregnant with her first baby. There’s just one problem. All that was ten years ago …
Alice has slipped in a step-aerobics class, hit her head and lost a decade.Now she’s a grown-up, bossy mother of three in the middle of a nasty divorce and her beloved sister Elisabeth isn’t speaking to her.This is her life but not as she knows it. Clearly Alice has made some terrible mistakes.Just how much can happen in a decade? Can she ever get back to the woman she used to be?

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.

Comments

  1. Hannah says:

    I put this on my wishlist a little while back but not sure I'll bother. Going off my non-magical fiction mood at the moment and so if it's not fantastic, it will sit on my shelf unread for years.

  2. Hanna says:

    @Hannah – I really wouldn't kill yourself trying to get hold of it. I mean, if you see it in the charity shop for 50p, buy it; it's just not worth any more!

    It's one of those books that you can only really describe as 'fine' lol.

  3. Fantastic review but I'm still confused at whether you liked it or loved it. I never read books more than once so I'm not sure whether I would like this one.

  4. I read in themes quite a lot (not always intentionally..); mostly with world war related books oddly enough! Then I reach a point where I'm like "Enough! This is getting a bit much" and break off in a fantasy direction..it's a thoroughly predictable cycle!

    I have to say, I probably won't be reading this one but I do love your review 🙂

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