Friday, November 23, 2018

What Alice Forgot - Liane Moriarty

Summary: Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over… (Summary and pic from

My Review: This is another book club read of mine, and I bet that at this point you’re not only wishing you were in my book club (so many great ladies) but you pretty much feel like you’re in my book club. Minus the treats. Sorry about that. You really missed out. We always have good treats which is, as you know, a key essential for a good book club meeting.

It was my turn to host book club for this meeting, and this is the book I chose, albeit a blind choice. I hadn’t read the book before, which I don’t normally do. I like to choose a book that’s a known good read for me, but sometimes I just have to browse through the library’s offerings and do my best to choose what looks good. I always read reviews and ratings and such before choosing an actual book, and usually this works for me. Every once in awhile we’ll have one that’s not as good as I had hoped it would be when I chose it, but for the most part it works out well. This was one of the times when it worked out well.

I think this book did two things really well. First, it presented a captivating story line that kept you reading, even though for our book club standards it was longish. It didn’t seem like a long read, though, and most people read it within a few days of starting it. I know I did. Once I started, I simply had to see what would happen next. That is the sign of a good book. The story line itself was really interesting—the idea of waking up and thinking it’s ten years ago really gets you thinking about what your own life was like ten years ago. Living this situation with this woman made it easier to evaluate the way my life was ten years ago. Things I hadn’t thought of changing were brought to light as she discovered different parts in her life that had changed over the ten years.

That brings me to the second thing that this book did really well—it really makes you think. Not only should a good book have a captivating story line, but it should make you think and evaluate. This doesn’t, in my opinion, necessarily always have to be about me. Sometimes the story can make me think about our society as a whole, or history, or current events, or any number of things that may or may not affect me directly. This book, however, made me think deeply (and the other women in my book club, as well) about my life. The biggest question this brought about for me was am I leading the kind of life, am I making the kind of day-to-day decisions, that will lead me to where I want to be in ten years? It’s a captivating question, no? In fact, this book felt so real that there was a woman in our book club who couldn’t stand to read it because it felt too close. She is an older woman who has lead a very good life, but this book certainly does put you inside the main character’s head and because of that you feel exposed not only to her shortcomings and discoveries, but to your own as well.

I think this book really excelled at being a book club book. Some books lend themselves well to discussion, and this is certainly one of those books. Our book club does a good job of actually discussing the book (I’ve been in a book club that basically turned into a dinner club, and I know that’s not uncommon) and we discussed this book for a long time. There was just a lot to say and a lot of things to address. I thought about this book long after I read it, and I think I will always try to live my life how I want to be in ten years because of this book and this discussion.

My Rating: 4 stars

For the sensitive reader: This book has some language and sexual situations, although I would say it is pretty normal compared to other books in the genre.

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