Aug 17, 2011

Book Review: What Alice Forgot, A Novel by Liane Moriarty

Genre: women's fiction, fiction
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 432 pages, hardcover
Publication date: June 2, 2011
Source: Publisher
Objective rating: 4.75/5

"Tacky? I said that? I said that about you? I would never say that!" Alice was horrified. Had she turned into a nasty person who judged people by their choice of career? She'd always been proud of Elisabeth. She was the smart one, the one who was going places, while Alice stayed safely put. (ch. 7)

About: Alice Love, age 29, is in love with her husband and expecting their first child. She remembers buying a wonderful old house with two stone lions in the front whom they name George and Mildred. One day she wakes up in the hospital after suffering a concussion from a bad fall at the gym and is told that it's really ten years later, she is 39, and she has lost all memory of the past ten years. She must face the fact that she has three children under the age of 10 whom she doesn't remember, and that she is about to get a divorce from the husband she adores, Nick.

Alice notices she is skinnier than she used to be at 29, as she often works out at the gym, a place she used to hate. She finds she is in a strained relationship with her older sister, Elisabeth, and even with some of her friends and her former friendly neighbor. Alice tries to remember the ten years she has dropped from her memory and to change the past back to the one she knows, if she can. In the middle of this, one name keeps cropping up in conversations, a name she doesn't recall - Gina.

Comments: I enjoyed the premise of the book - a woman who forgot the past and is trying to rectify or change what she had done or become. It kept me reading just to find out how successful she would be, how she would react on meeting her three children as if for the first time, how she would gradually discover what happened in the past ten years.  

The author is an excellent storyteller and knows how to keep her readers guessing. The story is told  from three perspectives - Alice's, her sister Elisabeth's, and their honorary grandmother Frannie's. Her main character Alice is likable and sympathetic, and the other characters are also very realistic, especially Elisabeth, whose story is as moving as Alice's. I would recommend the book to all who are interested in the nature of family and friendships. 

About the author: Liane Moriarty has written Three Wishes and The Last Anniversary, translated into several languages. She also writes the Nicola Berry series for children. Liane lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and two young children.  


  1. Not sure I would've read this if it wasn't a book club pick. I really liked it!! I loved how emotionally involved I became in what the outcome would be for Alice and her family. I'll definitely look for more of Moriarty's novels.

  2. Mary: I plan to read her other two adult novels too! Let me know how you like her other books!

  3. I think this sounds terrific -- one I passed on initially. Glad u loved it.

  4. Diane: Hope you get a chance to read it!

  5. Great review - I loved this book too!

  6. Read this a while ago and liked it too.

  7. I loved this book, too! I think it would have made me reevaluate my life if I'd read it when I was younger - I found it very thought provoking.

  8. I'm intrigued by this one. The premise is just so good (and scary!).

  9. I too was really interested to see how she would react to her kids that she didn't even know she had. At times her thoughts on them were quite funny. I really became interested in how this book was going to end and the author pretty much keeps yoU guessing until then. I'm glad you liked this book too!

  10. What an amazing novel, ten year lapse in memory. Have written this one down.


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