The best laid plans – “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty

January 7, 2013 at 5:53 am 4 comments

“What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty, Published in 2009

This is a sweet story. There was a lot of champagne drinking in the book and that reminds me a lot of the story itself – light, a bit bubbly, and goes to your head rather fast.

Alice is 39-year-old stay at home mother with three children and is in the middle of nasty divorce from her husband, Nick.  At her spinning class one morning she falls off her bike and hits her head. When she wakes up, she can no longer remember the last 10 years of her life. Alice instead believes she is 29, pregnant with her first child and happily married.  She can’t remember any of her children or their names. She can’t remember that she and Nick are now separated. She can’t remember any of the pain or heartache of the last ten years but she also can’t remember the extraordinary things – like having her children or finishing construction on her dream house.

What Alice ForgotWhat Alice finds is that in the last ten years she has gone from a bit of an introverted, free spirit, chocolate-lover to a control obsessed, work-out crazed, over involved mother.   Alice does not like much about her 39-year-old self.  Her relationships with everyone she had loved so much, her husband, her sister, her old friends, have become strained and Alice cannot remember why.  She is also stuck in this whirlwind of a daily schedule that makes each day seem unbearable.  So Alice must try to remember her past but hope that she can hang onto the pieces of her younger self that she loves.  This seems impossible when everyone around her remembers everything and struggles with letting Alice become a better version of herself.

Moriarty’s novel is interesting. I kept thinking what if I lost my memory of the last ten years of my life? I wouldn’t remember my children, law school, or a thousand other amazing things that have happened to me in the last ten years.  What a bizarre concept. But Moriarty also hits on a good theme here.  It is the question of how does your older self compare to who your younger self wanted to be?  That is often how we measure ourselves – what do we want to be when we grow up and then did it happen.     But what we don’t know, when we are younger, is that with experience comes wisdom and sometimes our plans are not what is best for us.  The best laid plans often must give way to the wonderful things that happen outside of those plans.  We have to adjust and enjoy those wonderful surprises along the way. And if we can do that then we should  be very happy with how our older selves measure up.

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Entry filed under: January 2013 reads. Tags: , , .

Alas, my love you do me wrong – “Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel The inescapable past – “The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sheri de Gromm  |  January 14, 2013 at 4:25 am

    Great review. Memory loss seems to be a ‘trend’ theme for authors this season. I’m currently reading ‘The Memory Thief’ by debut author Emily Colin.

    • 2. Emily C  |  January 14, 2013 at 11:59 pm

      Please let me know if it is good. Yes, I have noticed the memory loss trend as well. It is kind of fun.

  • 3. susanbright  |  January 31, 2013 at 9:46 am

    What Alice Forgot is on my “to read” list. Still Alice …another Alice story and also another memory story was one of the best books I have read in a long time. Did you read it?

    • 4. Emily C  |  January 31, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      I haven’t read it. I will have to – thank you for the recommendation! I am always looking for my next read.


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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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