What Alice Forgot: Book summary and reviews of What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot

A Novel

By Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2011,
    432 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"...[M]oving, well-paced, and thoroughly pleasurable." - Publishers Weekly

"Moriarty's intriguing story will keep readers guessing and curious to know more about Alice." - Library Journal

"Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse... Cheerfully engaging." - Kirkus Reviews

"An often funny, sometimes heartrending, deeply personal portrait of a woman attempting to unravel her own mystery…Before your friends are talking about it, before Hollywood casts the inevitable screen adaptation, pick up What Alice Forgot and enjoy a thoroughly rewarding, deftly executed walk through the last decade of Alice Love's life." - Booklist

"The affecting tale of Alice's chance for a ten-year do-over." - New York Times

"Funny and knowing…[about] what we choose to remember, and fight to forget." - O, the Oprah Magazine

"You won't be able to put this fun read down…. It's about everything that matters: family, friends, marriage- and did I mention it's really funny?" - Woman's World Magazine

"Highly addictive." - She Magazine (UK; Book of the Month)

"A thought-provoking novel." - Ladies Home Journal

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cloggie Downunder
Often funny, occasionally sad and totally captivating
What Alice Forgot is the third novel by popular Australian author, Liane Moriarty. When Alice Love wakes from a strange dream on the floor of the gym, she has a terrible headache, and she’s a bit worried about her unborn baby. It’s 1998 and her first child is due in 1999. Except that everyone is telling her it is 2008, John Howard is not the Prime Minister and she is in the throes of an acrimonious divorce from her husband, Nick. That nasty knock on the head when she fell during her Friday step class has caused her to lose the last ten years of her life. As she gradually pieces together the basics of the last ten years, she discovers that 29-year-old Alice, sweet, innocent, funny, sometimes a bit silly and hopelessly in love with Nick has evolved into 39-year-old Alice, busy, bossy, occasionally bitchy, with an acerbic voice, who can’t stand the sight of her husband. She has three children whom she doesn’t recognise, goes to the gym (no way!) and eats healthy food. Her friends are similarly gossipy, bitchy school mums. Something’s gone wrong with her sister Elisabeth and her mother has remarried. The intriguing mystery of what Alice forgot is carried by three voices: a third-person narrative gives Alice’s point of view; a first-person narrative (in the form of a journal prescribed by her therapist) details Elisabeth’s observations; and a computer blog offers “grandmother” Frannie’s take on events. Moriarty’s characters are those you meet at the P&C or the gym; her dialogue is what you hear in the supermarket of the café; and the plot is completely credible, with a plethora of occurrences from everyday life. This uplifting novel touches on infertility, adoption, raising children, therapy, divorce, work-life balance, family relationships and trying again. Often funny, occasionally sad and totally captivating.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Nancy
What Alice Forgot
This is not the type of book I probably would have picked up if I had not won a copy. I decided to read the first few pages and I couldn't put it down. I loved the way Moriarty let Alice discover new things about herself daily - the accounts of her interactions with her 3 children that she didn't even remember having were priceless. At first I was put off by the other two story lines and the way they were told but by the middle of the book I couldn't wait to see her sister's diary entry or her grannie's letter. This could be the story of any young wife who soon finds herself with 3 active children, an ambitious husband, and all that keeping the household running smoothly entails. It is a cautionary tale of what one can lose along the way told with humor and insight.

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Liane Moriarty is the author of two other novels, Three Wishes and The Last Anniversary, both of which have been published around the world and translated into seven languages. She is also the author of the Nicola Berry series for children. Moriarty lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two small, noisy children. You can visit her website at http://lianemoriarty.com.au/.

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