Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review - What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Title: What Alice Forgot
Author: Liane Moriarty 
Year: 2011
Page: 412
Genre: Fiction - Women

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
What would happen if you were visited by your younger self, and got a chance for a do-over?

Alice Love is twenty-nine years old, madly in love with her husband, and pregnant with their first child. So imagine her surprise when, after a fall, she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! she HATES the gym!) and discovers that she's actually thirty-nine, has three children, and is in the midst of an acrimonious divorce.

A knock on the head has misplaced ten years of her life, and Alice isn't sure she likes who she's become. It turns out, though, that forgetting might be the most memorable thing that has ever happened to Alice.

First Sentence:
She was floating, arms outspread, water lapping her body, breathing in a summary fragrance of salt and coconut.

My Thoughts:

  • I read At Home With Books' review (see here). The premise sounded very interesting - I don't know what it is, but it seems like there are a lot of "memory loss" books out this year? E.g. Before I Go To Sleep, Forgotten (YA, I won a copy but haven't read yet). Well, I am definitely interested in memory loss books because the plot line can be so different for each story! A lot of room for creativity.
  • I was hoping this was not going to be too chick-lit like. I read another review that said the first part was so-so, the second part was really good, and the last part was excellent. Nay. The general story line was not bad, but it was WAY TOO LONG. It would be a stronger story if it was shorter. The story was interesting enough that made you kept on reading to find out what happened, but the author deliberately made it longer, e.g. Alice might remember a fragment of someone or something, but nobody would tell her what it meant, they just told her she wouldn't want to know... it got old when it keeps happening.
  • The story was mostly told in 3rd person about Alice, but it included Elizabeth's diary and Frannie's letters.The subplots about Alice's sister and grannie were also unnecessary - in fact, I don't even remember what happened to them now, a few months after I read this book.
  •  One thing I did really like about the book - it made me evaluate my relationship with my husband - no, we don't hate each other and don't have any plans to separate at all, but we've definitely settled into the companion phase of the relationship, like an old married couple. Why couldn't we have sustained how we felt about each other when we first met, you know? We've become so comfortable with each other (not that it's a bad thing) that those "makes you heart races" moments become rare... I know it is normal for this type of relationship (learned enough from my college psych classes) but still, sometimes I miss the honeymoon phases.
  • The story definitely did make me wonder what it'd be like if I were to lose 10 years of memories tomorrow...
  • Another blogger review I read (see here) was wondering what some Australian slang mean, e.g. lollies, Freddo Frog. I am glad I haven't forgotten my Aussie slang :)
  • Overall, the story was interesting, and the relationship about Nick and Alice seemed quite realistic. But it would be a much, much strong book had it been at least 100 pages shorter. And well, make it a bit less predictable. But that's the problem I have with most chick-lit or women's fiction.

It seemed truly frightening that it was only by sheer chance that she had met Nick. It could so easily not have happened, and then she would have had a shadowy, half-alive existence, like some sort of woodland creature who never sees sunlight. (p77)

I asked if you thought Sarah looked even more beautiful than usual that night, and you said, "Alice, I could never love anyone the way I love you,' and I laughed and said, "That wasn't the question,' but it was the question, because I was feeling insecure, and that's what you said. (p232)
But maybe every life looked wonderful if all you saw was the photo albums. (p291)

Overall Rating:

2.5 Stars. Would be a stronger book if it was shorter.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.


  1. Oh gracious, it was this one or Turn of Mind, now I am unsure of both.

    I am also tired of the name Alice in books, authors please stop using Alice, for peets sake, sigh.

    Christa, I am on the fence, I may still try this one... Which one would you recommend to me?

  2. I definitely want to read this one. You're not the first blogger to say that it caused you to take a closer look at your marriage, just in a more introspective way, and that really intrigues me. Like you pointed out, it is normal to move into a phase that is more of a companionship, but it's nice to be reminded of that honeymoon phase every once in awhile.

  3. @Marce - story wise, I think I like this one better than Turn of Mind, though both I think can be improved by their execution. With Turn Of Mind, I really think you should read an excerpt if you could. Go to amazon, and click on the "search inside this book" link under the cover picture. See if the writing grabs you - because really the whole book is written like that. I really couldn't get engaged with that writing style. This one is easier to read, I just wished it was shorter and it'd make a stronger story.

    @reviewsbylola - it definitely touched a nerve when you see how the characters' marriage unfold. So I did really like that aspect of this book.

  4. Thanks,looks like I was right, this is the one I chose to give a try.

  5. @Marce - can't wait to see what you think! I like that the relationship seemed real.