Tuesday 14 January 2014

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Alice is twenty-nine. She adores sleep, chocolate, and her ramshackle new house. 
She's newly engaged to the wonderful Nick and is pregnant with her first baby.
There's just one problem. All of that was ten years ago . .  
Alice has slipped in a step-aerobics class, hit her head and lost a decade. Now she's a grown-up, bossy mother of three in the middle of a nasty divorce and her beloved sister Elisabeth isn't speaking to her. This is her life but not as she knows it. 
Clearly Alice has made some terrible mistakes. Just how much can happen in a decade? 
Can she ever get back to the woman she used to be?

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty was originally published in 2010 and the special reissue is being released here in the UK by Penguin on 16 January 2014.

I read Liane Moriarty's last novel; The Husband's Secret last year and really enjoyed it, so I was interested to see how this one would compare.  

Set in Australia, we meet Alice just as she is coming round from a nasty bang on the head after falling during her weekly exercise session at the gym.   Alice really doesn't have a clue what she is doing in a gym of all places, and how on earth did her stomach get so taught and flat.   Who are these women surrounding her who all seem to know her, and oh God - is the baby that she's expecting still OK?  
But Alice isn't pregnant with her first baby at all.  She's not twenty-nine, passionately in love with her husband Nick and in the process of renovating their new home.

It appears that Alice is in fact thirty-nine, the mother of three children and a gym regular.  She's also a control freak, she's on almost every committee in town and is also in the process of getting a divorce.

Alice has lost the last ten years, totally forgotten everything.  She can't believe that she and Nick hate each other, she doesn't understand why her beloved sister seems so cold towards her and hasn't a clue who this person called Gina that everyone talks about is, or what an impact she's had on her life.

Liane Moriarty is a very funny, very clever author.  What Alice Forgot is frightening in that it really could happen - to any of us.  All the way through this story I couldn't help but put myself in Alice's position.  How awful to all of a sudden be an almost-divorced mother of three.  How awful to find that you have become one of those women that years ago you would have laughed at.  How bloody awful to find that you don't like yourself at all, and those that you love don't like you any more either.

The observation of life and how people can change is excellent and so very well done.  The glimpses into Alice's new life which she compares to her old life and her old personality are tantalising and I was so desperate to know why and how Alice and her life had changed so much.

Sometimes the plot is just a tad predictable, and maybe just a little over the top at times but this honestly didn't spoil my enjoyment of the novel in any way.   What Alice Forgot is an entertaining read, a story that makes you think about life, extremely well written - I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My thanks to Katie from Penguin who sent my copy for review.

Liane Moriarty is an Australian author and sister of author Jaclyn Moriarty. In its review of her 2013 novel, The Husband's Secret, she was referred to as "an edgier, more provocative and bolder successor to Maeve Binchy" by Kirkus Reviews.

Liane Moriarty began work in advertising and marketing at a legal publishing company. She then ran her own company for a while before taking work as a freelance advertising copywriter. In 2004, after obtaining a Master's degree at Macquarie University in Sydney her first novel Three Wishes, written as part of the degree, was published. 

She is now the author of several other novels, including The Last Anniversary (2006) and What Alice Forgot (2010), The Hypnotist's Love Story (2011), and The Husband's Secret (2013). She is also the author of the Nicola Berry series for children.

Liane Moriarty lives in Sydney with her husband and two children. 

Find more information about the author and her novels on her website www.lianemoriarty.com.au  and on Facebook


  1. I have this one on my TBR pile but you've sold it to me Anne!

  2. I'll be on the lookout for this one. Thanks for the review Anne.

  3. This is a fantastic read, seemingly light-hearted but with a very good underlying message. Great review!