This summer has been great. I have gotten back into reading actual books without pictures in them all thinks to my Summer Book Club. And the last book I read was What Alice Forgot and I would have to say it’s the best read of the summer so far.
I feel that I would be remiss if I did not share with you this book. And share why I enjoyed it so much. Plus truth be told I have been dying to talk to someone about it and unfortunately I think that my lackadaisical approach to book club has made it a little more difficult to actually get together. So I didn’t get to have the discussion I had hoped for, but I do hope if you have read the book, then you will share with me what your thoughts were in the comments.
About What Alice Forgot
What Alice Forgot is written by Liane Moriarty. It is about a young woman named Alice who fell and bumped her head and misplaced the last 10 years of her life. She wakes up thinking she’s 29 years old and carefree and in love and about to have her first baby. In actuality she’s 39, uptight and scheduled, in deep hate with the man she thinks she loves, and has 3 children. She only has these little flashes of memory that make no sense to her and she’s trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, but every time she finds something out about her she hates herself and her life even more.
She simply cannot wrap her head around any of it and understand why 10 years would make her fall out of love with the man of her dreams and stop talking to her sister and her best friend.
My Thoughts On What Alice Forgot
I must admit I had a hard time getting into What Alice Forgot in the beginning. There are three view points that are being shared. Obviously the main one being Alice’s, but every so often it splits off into Alice’s sister’s point of view, and her grandmother’s thoughts.
It does this by having her sister writing “homework” for her therapist. She’s writing about her feelings and helping to give small pieces of the puzzle of the story of Alice’s life. Then her grandmother is writing a letter to an old lost love and also sharing little bits and pieces of Alice’s new life.
I was having a hard time in the beginning wrapping my head around it and I really just wanted these people to answer the questions of who’s Gina and why did Nick move out. But eventually it all started to make sense and at the end everything really does just fall right into place and it was important to hear these other characters thoughts in this manner.
How I Related To This Book
Throughout the entire book I kept thinking in 1998 I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. That was the year Alice was brought back to. And she was pregnant with her oldest. So I kept trying to think about the things that I thought back then.
While in 2008 my marriage wasn’t in a shambles I definitely was living a life I probably wouldn’t have imagined for myself in 1998. I kept trying to think about how strange that would be. To be meeting 3 kids I didn’t remember having.
It’s true, 10 years really does change a person a lot. It seems like such a short amount of time, but in that time so much can happen. So many experiences change us as a person. Having children changes us. Jobs change us. Friendships change us. I am honestly not friends anymore with anyone I would have considered my best friend 10 years ago.
Even my relationship with my family is different. But the whole time I was reading it and seeing how the relationships around Alice were changing with her as her 29 year old self instead of her 39 year old self it made me think what would happen? Would any of the fights I have had with my preteen daughter over the years be fixed with me going back to a simpler time and just taking the time to slow down. To stop and take her out for ice cream and play in the sand at the beach with her. Would having those thoughts and dreams I had for her when I was pregnant with her have helped improve our relationship instead of having 10 years of remembering every eye roll and every fight or way she has misbehaved? What would that have done for our relationship?
And then I couldn’t help but wonder if even without losing my memory could I still be that mom of 10 years ago? Before the sleepless nights and all of the potty training battles and homework battles. Before the reality of motherhood stepped in. Could I do that? I think I can and I think it has become my new goal to try and achieve with my children.
To stop rushing, to take a step back. To listen with an open mind and open heart and not ready to accuse. I gave it a go last night actually. The kids were bickering over something silly as usual and my oldest has squeezed my middle daughter a little too hard. Normally just the fact that she put her hands on her sister for the millionth time when I have told her about that and finding a better way to deal with her anger would have made me just ground her and I probably wouldn’t have talked to her because we’ve done this a million times before.
This time, I listened to my middle daughter’s story and I helped her to see where she might have gone wrong in the disagreement. Then I got my oldest daughter’s side of the story. I didn’t yell. I just calmly asked her what she could have done differently. And she tried to excuse it with well she was trying to get me in trouble which she knows tends to make me that much more upset, but I just calmly explained to her that I dealt with that and that she needs to worry about herself and she needs to stop and think before she reacts to things. She apologized to her sister and her sister apologized to her and there was no screaming or slamming of doors.
Age and wisdom is a good thing, but so is remembering the times when life was just a little easier. And sometimes we can learn something from our old former self.
I was crying by the time the book was over. It was a good cry. It was an enlightening cry. Who would have thought that a fiction book could have taught me something about life and how to be better for my children and my family?
If you haven’t read What Alice Forgot, then I highly recommend that you do.