Sunday, August 28, 2016

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot is a novel by Liane Moriarty.  It had been recommended to me somehow--either a friend had suggested it or I'd read a review that did.  I recall buying it on Amazon and beginning it about a year ago.  The first few pages then did not grab me and I put it down.  Earlier this summer I spotted it on my bookshelf. When I was in between reads recently, I tried it again.

I'm not sure what the acclaim is about. This is the kind of book that makes me wonder how it made its way past the many submissions a publisher rejects.  It is not especially well written, has a plot line that is Rip Van Winkle-ish, so not particularly original.  Also there are subplots that are not especially profound or even relevant to the story.

A woman, Alice, falls down in her gym in 2008 and temporarily loses consciousness.  When she regains consciousness she thinks it is 1998. She thinks she is pregnant with her first child.  She also thinks she is still married and in love with Nick--her husband--when in fact she and he are in the midst of a difficult divorce and custody battle for their three children.  Alice has forgotten that her relationship with her sister is strained and that she has made friends with some, enemies of others, and is dating her daughter's school principal.

The entire book is about this loss of memory and how the 1998 Alice navigates 2008 with no memory of the prior ten years.  The subplots involve her sister's struggle to become pregnant and Alice's sort of grandmother.  (She is sort of a grandmother because when Alice's father died suddenly a neighbor became like a mother to Alice's mother.)  The grandmother writes love letters to an absent Phil and these are interspersed throughout the novel.

This synopsis does not give away much. If one is inclined to enjoy a story with this frame, then you might want to read the book.  I did not find it particularly rewarding, enjoyable, or original.

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