Apr 11

Book Review: What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty


I have really been enjoying Moriarty’s work. This is the third book of hers I’ve read/listened to (I listened to the audiobook of this one) and while it wasn’t as hard-hitting as Big Little Lies or The Husband’s Secret, I still found it enjoyable.

I think Moriarty’s strength is in the little details that make everyone so believable. Even the children have their own personalities, which is not the case with many novels that have children in them. The people aren’t just different from each other, they’re different from themselves depending on their age. Alice at 29 is a different woman from Alice at 39.

I loved exploring Alice’s world as she figures out what has happened in the previous ten years. There’s enough mystery and tragedy and events to keep revealing them one by one and make it interesting. The best thing about the book were these little reveals and the depth and nuance of the characters. I also liked the “will she or won’t she” question of whether or not she would repair her marriage with Nick.

I do get a little tired of reading about rich, snobby, competitive mothers. Do people really host social events for the other parents of Kindergartners? That just seems totally weird. She seemed to get bent out of shape about unimportant things. Alice doesn’t have real problems. Alice’s marriage doesn’t have real problems. There was no reason for them to be splitting in the first place except that they’re too wrapped up in themselves and in their own lives. I found Alice, young Alice, a more or less likeable person, if a bit of a mess. Old Alice wasn’t quite so likeable. She’s more jaded and spoiled, unkind and not terribly emotionally mature. Or maybe other people don’t sort of grow up in their thirties like I did? Maybe you don’t need to if you are of the 5-latte-a-day and expensive personal trainer class of people.

This is a sweeter book than Big Little Lies, though it still deals with hard-hitting subjects such as grief and infertility. Now that I’ve read three of them, I’m finding a sameness in the “very rich suburban mothers of young children who have their entire social circle and identity wrapped up in their motherhood and their children’s school lives” circle. It seems a rather specific sort of person, rather foreign to me but alike to one another, and I used to be a suburban mother of young children. I just didn’t get quite so into it the way these women seem to assume everyone does.



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