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What Alice Forgot
Cover of What Alice Forgot
What Alice Forgot
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FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE HUSBAND'S SECRET AND BIG LITTLE LIES.
A "cheerfully engaging"(Kirkus Reviews) novel for anyone who's ever asked herself, "How did I get here?"
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 THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE HUSBAND'S SECRET AND BIG LITTLE LIES.
A "cheerfully engaging"(Kirkus Reviews) novel for anyone who's ever asked herself, "How did I get here?"
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...
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter 1

    She was floating, arms outspread, water lapping her body, breathing in a summery fragrance of salt and coconut. There was a pleasantly satisfied breakfast taste in her mouth of bacon and coffee and possibly croissants. She lifted her chin and the morning sun shone so brightly on the water, she had to squint through spangles of light to see her feet in front of her. Her toenails were each painted a different color. Red. Gold. Purple. Funny. The nail polish hadn't been applied very well. Blobby and messy. Someone else was floating in the water right next to her. Someone she liked a lot, who made her laugh, with toenails painted the same way. The other person waggled multicolored toes at her companionably, and she was filled with sleepy contentment. Somewhere in the distance, a man's voice shouted, "Marco?" and a chorus of children's voices cried back, "Polo!" The man called out again, "Marco, Marco, Marco?" and the voices answered, "Polo, Polo, Polo!" A child laughed; a long, gurgling giggle, like a stream of soap bubbles. A voice said quietly and insistently in her ear, "Alice?" and she tipped back her head and let the cool water slide silently over her face.
    Tiny dots of light danced before her eyes.
    Was it a dream or a memory?
    "I don't know!" said a frightened voice. "I didn't see it happen!"
    No need to get your knickers in a knot.
    The dream or memory or whatever it was dissolved and vanished like a reflection on water, and instead fragments of thought began to drift through her head, as if she were waking up from a long, deep sleep, late on a Sunday morning.
    Is cream cheese considered a soft cheese?
    It's not a hard cheese.
    It's not . . .
    . . . hard at all.
    So, logically, you would think . . .
    . . . something.
    Something logical.
    Lavender is lovely.
    Logically lovely.
    Must prune back the lavender!
    I can smell lavender.
    No, I can't.
    Yes, I can.
    That's when she noticed the pain in her head for the first time. It hurt on one side, a lot, as if someone had given her a good solid thwack with a baseball bat.
    Her thoughts sharpened. What was this pain in the head all about? Nobody had warned her about pain in her head. She had a whole list of peculiar symptoms to be prepared for: heartburn, a taste like aluminum foil in your mouth, dizziness, extreme tiredness—but nothing about a hammering ache at the side of your head. That one should really have been mentioned, because it was very painful. Of course, if she couldn't handle a run-of-the mill headache, well then . . .
    The scent of lavender seemed to be coming and going, like a gentle breeze.
    She let herself drift again.
    The best thing would be to fall back asleep and return to that lovely dream with the water and the multicolored toenails.
    Actually, maybe someone had mentioned headaches and she forgot? Yes, they had! Headaches, for heaven's sake! Really bad ones. Fabulous.
    So much to remember. No soft cheeses or smoked salmon or sushi because of the risk of that disease she never even knew existed. Listeria. Something to do with bacteria. Hurts the baby. That's why you weren't allowed to eat leftovers. One bite of a leftover chicken drumstick could kill the baby. The brutal responsibilities of parenthood.
    For now, she would just go back to sleep. That was the best thing.
    Listeria.
    Wisteria.
    The wisteria over the side fence is going to look stunning if it ever gets around to flowering.
    Listeria, wisteria.
    Ha. Funny words.
    She smiled, but her head really did hurt a lot. She was trying to be brave.
    "Alice? Can you hear me?"
    The lavender smell got stronger again. A bit sickly sweet.
    Cream cheese is a spreadable...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 14, 2011
    This winning not-quite amnesia story parses what happens when Alice, a married mother of three whose marriage is disintegrating, takes a knock on the head and comes to thinking she is herself, but 10 years younger and in the middle of a blossoming young marriage, with her first child on the way. As younger Alice adjusts to her older life and body, she finds much to be surprised at: a wealthy lifestyle she never dreamed of, a rejuvenated mother with a surprising love interest, and a sister whose life has turned out unexpectedly disappointing. And everyone is so sorry for something that happened with her best friend Gina, whom she doesn't remember, but apparently who helped sow the seeds of her marriage's collapse. But as the young Alice takes over the older Alice's life and applies her goofy, laissez-faire approach to living, the tension builds: what will happen if old Alice regains her memory? Alice's journey of reconciling herself to how her life came to be what it is, and her slowly building understanding of how the threads of her marriage began to unravel, is moving, well-paced, and thoroughly pleasurable.

  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2011

    From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

    Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She's fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick's bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick's mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids' school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth's diary.

    Cheerfully engaging.

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2011

    When Alice Love passes out at the gym and bonks her head, she wakes up with no memory of the past decade. It's a complete shock to her that she is thin, has three children, and is in the midst of a nasty divorce. She also has no idea why people don't want to talk to her about a mysterious woman named Gina, who was apparently her best friend. Moriarity makes this more than just a one-note story, weaving in a plotline involving Alice's childless sister. Deeper and much more serious than Sophie Kinsella's similarly themed Remember Me?, Moriarty's (Three Wishes; The Last Anniversary) intriguing story will keep readers guessing and curious to know more about Alice. [See Prepub Alert, 1/3/11.]

    Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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What Alice Forgot
Liane Moriarty
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