Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Review: What Alice Forgot

I almost put this book by Liane Moriarty back on the shelf. After reading the inside flap, I thought it sounded silly and wondered why I had it on my TBR list. Plus, I didn't like the cover. But because I am determined to make a dent in my TBR list this year, I checked it out. And I'm so glad I did!

The book's description makes it sound silly and flippant, but this book is anything but silly. Alice has a terrible fall, bangs her head, and wakes up in the hospital—and she's lost 10 terrible years of her life. Alice has no memory of having become a cold, brittle, callous woman who wears expensive clothes, has a personal trainer, does her kids' science projects so they'll win everything, and has filed for divorce. She remembers only that she is expecting her first child and is blissfully married to the love of her life.

It isn't one of those terrible amnesia stories but an incredibly thought-provoking tale of: how did I become this person? How did I stray so far from who I really am—and who am I, really? I found myself rooting for the old Alice, cheering for her as she ditches her rich and snotty friends. At the same time I felt incredibly sad, knowing that her lifestyle before her head injury is so common and so damaging to kids and marriages.

In the end, it's a book largely of do-overs. What if you had the gift of being able to forget all the horrible mistakes you made in a decade—but had to forget the births of your children and all those precious memories, too?

Highly recommended.

Linked up with the Saturday Review of Books at Semicolon