Jaclyn Moriarty is pretty well-known in the blogosphere when it comes to contemporary YA. I had no idea that her sister, Liane, is also an author until my good friend Nomes of Inkcrush reviewed What Alice Forgot. I ordered a copy from the Book Depository after I saw what she had to say about it and read the book as soon as my copy arrived (which took a month or so).
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Alice is twenty-nine. She is whimsical, optimistic and adores sleep, chocolate, her ramshackle new house and her wonderful husband Nick. What’s more, she’s looking forward to the birth of the ‘Sultana’ – her first baby.
But now Alice has slipped and hit her head in her step-aerobics class and everyone’s telling her she’s misplaced the last ten years of her life.
In fact, it would seem that Alice is actually thirty-nine and now she loves schedules, expensive lingerie, caffeine and manicures. She has three children and the honeymoon is well and truly over for her and Nick. In fact, he looks at her like she’s his worst enemy. What’s more, her beloved sister Elisabeth isn’t speaking to her either. And who is this ‘Gina’ everyone is so carefully trying not to mention?
Alice isn’t sure that she likes life ten years on. Every photo is another memory she doesn’t have and nothing makes sense. Just how much can happen in a decade? Has she really lost her lovely husband for ever?
I’ve experienced a case of the right book at the right time with What Alice Forgot and I loved it. For some reason, I was in the mood to read something just like this and Liane Moriarty is now on my auto-buy list. The plot of this book is similar to the TV show, Samantha Who, which I enjoyed watching a couple of years ago. After she bumped her head in a step-aerobics class, Alice thinks she’s twenty-nine instead of thirty-nine. She doesn’t understand why she’s drifted apart from her loved ones and why she’s in the middle of a nasty divorce with her husband, Nick. She doesn’t even remember giving birth to her three kids. The first part started out a bit slow for me, Alice kept on relating details about her life ten years ago. I already know that she lost her memory, I wanted the story to move forward at a faster pace. Nevertheless, I was hooked by Liane Moriarty’s writing and I knew I was going to enjoy reading about Alice coming to terms with the changes in her life. I also thought it was a great idea that the perspective changes from Alice’s point of view to her sister Elizabeth’s, who writes in a journal as homework for a therapist, and Frannie’s, their grandmother who has a personal blog about the family. Elizabeth’s journal entries about infertility are more serious in contrast to Frannie’s hilarious anecdotes.
I highly recommend this to fans of women’s fiction and readers who like their chick lit with more depth and with a lot of heart. What Alice Forgot portrays how hard it is to work on relationships – between siblings, between husband and wife and even between a parent and their child. If only we could all go back in time and say “let’s start with a clean slate because of memory loss” each time there’s a problem that feels insurmountable. This book made me reflect about my own life and how different things were for me ten years ago and I think this is something that we would all be able to relate to. I wouldn’t want to go back but I do think it’s a shame that I lost some close friends along the way. In spite of handling some serious topics, What Alice Forgot also has its share of humor. Alice’s thoughts as she tries to figure out everything in her life were amusing. It’s not surprising that I liked the younger, less-bitter Alice than her older counterpart and I kept wondering if her memory would come back or not. While reading this, I was thinking that the book would make a great movie and lo and behold, I saw in the author’s website that the film rights have been bought. Definitely looking forward to watching that! What Alice Forgot will be released in the US on June 2 so all you readers over there will be able to purchase this from your favorite bookstore while I will be waiting patiently to get my copies of Liane’s other books: Three Wishes and The Last Anniversary.