Book Review: What Alice Forgot

Apparently I’m just not understanding the PB Fingers Book Club thing but I swear I’m going to figure it out! I was finished with this book WELL before the deadline, but I didn’t realize you were supposed to write it up on your blog FIRST, and then she would link to your blog when she reviewed it. Lesson learned. That’ll be my goal for next month. I did want to talk about the December selection though because it was a really interesting book!

I’ve defined POTR in my mind as a “wellness blog”. I wouldn’t consider it a food blog or even healthy living blog, since those seem to require me posting all my meals in a given day and a daily workout report. Instead, I think I’m aiming to address all areas of wellness in a place that is both personal and informational. When I decided I wanted to add books to the blog, I had to ask myself why? I think the Happiness Project was more obvious because it did SO MUCH for my general happiness and disposition, which is a crucial part of wellness. However, I think books in general (for me) play a huge role in my wellness. In my definition, wellness is more than eating right and exercising (which I write a lot about on here). There’s also a mental / emotional component to it that, for me at least, is probably the most critical. Therefore, I’d like to spend one post per week talking about some aspect of wellness OTHER than diet and exercise. Book reviews fall in this category for me because I’m not really interested in discussing the plot. I’m interested in discussing my reaction to the book, the way it made me feel, and the questions it raised in my mind. So without further ado… a book review for you!

So the December PB Fingers book club pick was… What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. To give you a very very very bare bones plot summary… basically the last thing Alice remembers is being 29, happily married, and expecting her first child. Suddenly she wakes up from an apparent fall at the gym to find that she is actually 39, has three children, and is in the middle of a bitter divorce from her husband. The remainder of the book follows her as she struggles to remember what happened over the last 10 years that has changed her life so drastically.

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I, for whatever reason, am pretty hit or miss when it comes to novels. I LOVE non fiction books and read a ton of memoirs (usually of the dark and gritty variety… call me weird, that’s ok with me) The novels I do enjoy tend to be more historical fiction, dystopian, etc. Something besides “regular every day life”. But for some reason, this book really captivated me. I was reading it on my Kindle and would open it up whenever I had a minute… on the metro, in the elevator. I also stayed up WAY too late reading on numerous occasions. I almost felt like I was scrambling and rushing through the first part of the book, because I was so desperate to find out more of Alice’s memories! The author did a great job simulating that desire for more information. She really put you in Alice’s place almost. There were places I felt like things were kind of dragging but it wasn’t a deal breaker.

Mike wasn’t a huge fan of me reading this book. Which is a weird thing to say and makes him sound weird and controlling, which he is definitely not. But the way Alice’s marriage to Nick completely disintegrates over the course of 10 years, from honestly nothing more than stress, work pressure, and lack of communication, really upset me. We would be sitting together reading and I would look up very concerned and ask Mike if he really thought that he and I could make it forever or if he thought that we were supportive enough of each other. He said he preferred when I was reading The Happiness Project because I was… well… happier! But this book really made me think. Not that I didn’t already know it, but relationships are HARD. Not only with your significant other but also friends and family members. You have to work at those relationships all the time or they can slip away before you realize. Interestingly enough, I found that Alice’s relationships with Nick and her sister Elizabeth were most damaged by the things they DIDN’T say to each other, or felt like they couldn’t say.

I also found myself for most of the book being like “Wow, Alice sucks.” The way information was unfolding and being relayed it made her sound well… terrible! And Gina too for that matter. There was even a little part of me that was like “No wonder your marriage fell apart… look how horrible you were!” I also got the feeling that Alice kind of felt that way about herself too. But then when her memories all come flooding back to her on Mother’s Day, I realized she wasn’t horrible at all. She was just a normal person, experiencing every day stresses, and trying to find her own path. It showed me again how important it is not to judge someone’s actions or behaviors. 99% of the time there’s a back story there that you have NO idea about.

While I definitely found myself sad at many points in the book, I’m really glad I read it. It really inspired me to put in the effort in all of my relationships. Making sure I say what I’m feeling and make time to show affection even when I’m tired, overworked, or grumpy. Definitely worth a read if you’re interested!

Here’s a link to Julie’s write up for the book club (I also used her picture since I didn’t have the book in hardcopy). The January book club pick is “The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton. It looks pretty interesting to me… somewhat similar to “Atonement” it appears, which is an all time favorite of mine (I actually love basically everything Ian McEwan has ever written and was gifted his most recent book “Sweet Tooth” for Christmas!) I was hoping everyone would pick “The Fault in Our Stars” because Mike’s brother gave that to me as a Christmas gift and I’ve been wanting to get into it. I think I will keep up with the group though and try and squeeze in some others this month 🙂 I actually just subscribed to Audible.com and might give it a try with this one!

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One response

  1. […] this book and it was so.damn.good. Unlike my previous book reviews (examples here, here, and here) this is not a part of any online book club. I just read it on my own and simply HAD to write about […]

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