Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: What Alice Forgot

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: MacMillan, 2009

Can you imagine..............waking up from a strange dream and finding yourself lying injured on the floor of a gym? That's what happened to Alice Love and her first concern is for her unborn child followed by a desperate need to see her beloved husband, Nick.

But Alice isn't pregnant. And Nick is in the process of divorcing her. Alice has lost ten years of her life.

When Alice returns home from the hospital everything in her life is unrecognizable and during the days that follow and small bubbles of the past start to surface she begins to realize that it's not only her her home , her family and friends that are unfamiliar . She struggles to find herself in the person she has become and even worse , to like that woman.

My thoughts:  Surprise, surprise! A book of which I had no great expectations turned out to be one of the most compelling and thought-provoking reads of this year. I think it's a great pity that What Alice Forgot is constantly being  labelled as chicklit because it has a depth and intensity that books of that genre don't usually have.

It's a book about life and the changes that time brings to ourselves and our relationships. Not the big earth-shattering events but the small, everyday, inevitable occurrences we're barely aware of. Liane Moriarty has created wonderful characters encompassing all ages - the happy and optimistic young Alice, her children and Nick, her sister Elizabeth battling infertility problems, her once mousy Mum turned salsa dancer and Frannie, the honorary 'grandmother' who blogs from the retirement home. Their individual stories draw the reader right in at the emotional level but the true brilliance of the book lies in it's ability to make you look at and think about your own life . Which is why I think What Alice Forgot will be enjoyed by younger readers but older readers will truly connect and appreciate it more.
"She had always thought that exquisitely happy time at the beginning of her relationship with Nick was the ultimate, the feeling they's always be trying to replicate, to get back, but now she realised she was wrong. That was like comparing sparkling mineral water to champagne. Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It's light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that. But love after three children, after a separation and a near divorce, after you've hurt one another 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."
I loved it! It's filled with all the drama of life and I laughed and I cried - for Alice and myself! 
Highly recommended!

Aussie Author Challenge


  1. Interesting that all the reviews I have read said this is so much more than chick lit and shouldn't be labeled as such.

    This sounds great.

  2. So glad to see your recommendation. This is my book club selection for August. I'm excited to read it!

  3. I loved the excerpt you used at the end of your review. I have been wanting to read this. The premise reminds me of that Sophie Kinsella book Remember Me? (only with much more depth). I wonder if that is why people get confused and think it is chick lit. I really liked your review and it makes me want to read the book even more.

  4. To echo Christina T's point above, I thought about Sophie Kinsella's book Remember Me? as well just on the general premise, and it was a good read but was a little fluffier, so perhaps that's where the chick lit comparison comes in. And sometimes, people tend to write off books as chick lit because of a cover, and unfortunately, this cover doesn't help its cause. However, I think this sounds like a great read for the summer and since I'm going to the bookstore tomorrow, looks like I might have one more book to put on the list! :)

  5. Marce - not my usual choice of reading but great reading.

    Mary - I think this will be a wonderful book club choice and I hope you'll all enjoy it and the discussion I'm sure will follow.

    Christina - I confess I have never read Sophie Kinsella so can't compare but I do tend to shy away from the chicklit label.

    Nathalie - I agree - the cover does endorse the lighter chicklit type of book which initially put me off. I took it home because it was another Aussie author for the challenge - very glad I did. Enjoy!

  6. I hear you - I thought the same when I read Liane's 'The Last Anniversary'. Again the cover screamed chicklit, but her writing does have a lovely depth to it.