Friday, December 21, 2018

Backlist Bump: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

I'm easing back into blogging (and reading, to an extent)! I know everyone is different and every baby is different so I really had no idea what to expect out of our first weeks home with Wes but I have been sneaking in some reading. It's just a lot slower going than it used to be :)

What Alice Forgot had been in my TBR for some time (though not as long as The Last Anniversary) but I generally find it harder to get to backlist titles considering there are so many new titles being released that demand attention. And yet, one of the things the pregnancy allowed me was a bit of time away from those demands and the chance to dive into some of the things that had been begging for attention on my own bookshelves. Of course I also have to admit that I'm trying to hold off on buying anything new for myself, including Liane Moriarty's new hardcover. At least until after we get through Christmas :)

At 29, Alice is madly in love and expecting her first child. Her whole life is in front of her and she's looking forward to every minute of it!

But Alice isn't actually 29. She's 39 and can't remember anything that's happened over the past ten years thanks to a head injury after a fall at the gym. She can't remember, for instance, her three children. She also can't remember why she and her husband have split up or why she and her sister are barely talking. And she certainly can't remember how fun loving, relaxed Alice turned into the Alice everyone says she is today.

One of the things any fan of Moriarty's work, including myself, loves are the wonderfully realistic characters. Alice has a hint of Peggy Sue Got Married to it, and I do love that movie, but Moriarty brings that premise up to date in a lot of admirable ways. There's no question this is Alice's real life, for one, and there's no jumping back to her 29-year-old self to potentially change things, for another.

Nope, Alice wakes up on the floor in the gym and pretty immediately wonders why a coworker looks so much older all of the sudden. Seeing the way she's changed herself over the years comes as a shock but it's one she's got a little time to face, all things considered.

It's easy to sympathize with Alice, but I personally found myself sympathizing even more with her because the time she's stuck in mentally happens to be when she's pregnant with her first child. (Her sister's story is seated in pregnancy and motherhood as well, which added an extra layer for me.) All of the first sensations and the expectations and hopes of being a mother are fresh and new to Alice even after she discovers that very same child is actually ten years old. And then she realizes she's missing the entire lives and bonding experiences she'd had with all three children!

But of course the biggest issue is her marriage. She can't figure out how someone who once made her so happy has turned against her. Even worse, when those around her hint at her own attitude towards her husband, she's baffled and confused by the fact that she's apparently grown to dislike him so very much. Their relationship has become contentions, to say the least!

Alice of today is a very different Alice than the Alice she once was and now, faced with a decade of lost memories, she wonders if remembering is even worth it in the end.

No comments: