Rated 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.