Book Reviews

Reviews from a local Sullivan County Book Club:

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity (488 pages)
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…(from

This is the third Moriarity book read by the club (following Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret). There was consensus among the members that while it was a fairly enjoyable read, it was not quite on par with the prior two novels, perhaps because it was an earlier book (written in 2010). Some thought it was too long on detail while others thought that Moriarity’s style of “peeling the onion” to tell the story kept them entertained throughout. There are three parallel stories told in addition to Alice’s, all with the theme of coping with the changes that occur in one’s life over time.

The book did elicit a good deal of discussion about how life changes one’s outlook and personality from period to period or from decade to decade, and whether those changes are mostly positive.

If you are looking for a book that is a reasonably enjoyable read, tells an interesting story, and provokes thought but not in a heavy-handed way, you may want to give this and Moriarity’s other books a try. Generally, not a book that will change the reader’s life, but better than a toss-away read.

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