Friend: Shay, thank you soooo much for your What Alice Forgot recommendation! I just finished it and I LOVED it!
Me: You’re welcome! I do believe I have found my new favorite author in Liane Moriarty. I’m halfway through her newest, Big Little Lies, and although What Alice Forgot is my absolute favorite, this one is just as good. You have to get it next. I'm going to recommend it for Book Club.
My husband: You mean Nerd Club?
Afew months ago, as I was settling into a booth at Panera with the rest of my Nerd Club friends, my husband sent me a picture text of our youngest son wearing a pair of black-framed glasses, the kind grandpas used to wear. My husband captioned it, “He wants to come to Nerd Club, too.”
Isn’t he funny.
Every time I come home with a new book, my husband rolls his eyes and makes some disparaging comment about my “addiction.” I always tell him that there are worse things to be addicted to, like back in my early 20’s when I used to be addicted to having sex with random people.
Of course, that wasn’t so much an addiction as it was something I simply enjoyed doing after several beers. But my husband usually gets my point and shuts up about book addictions and Nerd Club.
Okay, no he doesn’t. But I do think it makes him respect Nerd Club a little bit more. It’s keeping me off the streets—well, at least for one Monday a month from 6:30-8:00 PM.
Anyway, I love books and I always have, and one day, while browsing books at the library, I noticed What Alice Forgot. I hadn’t heard of the book or the author, so I read the summary on the inside of the cover, and OMG, what a concept! I remember thinking.
Image from Amazon.com
Alice, the main character, has a small accident. When she wakes up, she’s lost 10 years of her memory, placing her, in her mind, exactly where she was 10 years ago: in the throes of newlywed passion, embarking on a house remodeling project with her beloved, sweet husband.
But here’s the thing: It’s actually 10 years later, and Alice is, in reality, in the midst of an acrimonious divorce with that same sweet, beloved husband who also happens to be the father of the 3 children that she doesn’t recognize but of whom she’s apparently the mother.
And what about the dead best friend that, as far as she can tell from pictures of the two of them, she absolutely adored? Who is that mysterious woman that she called her best friend—the one that everyone seems to have different opinions of? She doesn’t look like the type of person Alice would like…has Alice changed that much in the past 10 years that she would now be best friends with a person that, 10 years ago, she would have found annoyingly perfect?
I can’t say enough wonderful things about this book—starting with the whole concept itself. I kept putting myself in Alice’s place as I read.
Ten years ago, the hubs and I were in the middle of a 3-year struggle with multiple miscarriages. Normally a very happy person, I was prone to bouts of anger and sadness that I couldn’t explain—except I could. I wanted so badly to be a mother, but I was scared to death that it would never happen.
I could only imagine waking up 10 years later with 2 happy, healthy boys—one brown and one white! How in the hell did that happen? I would think. I would look at my husband and realize that he was the same white guy from 10 years ago—so either I’d cheated on him and he was totally okay with it, or we had adopted.
Whatever, because I now had the family I’d been dreaming of 10 years ago—and how easy had that been? Have an accident, fall asleep, wake up and BAM!
But what the hell to do with a 6-year-old and a 3-year old? Are Skittles cool for breakfast?
My best friend’s experience would be a bit closer to Alice’s. Ten years ago, she was very happily married and pregnant with her first child. But now…now she would wake up as a divorcee with two kids and a new tattoo.
I’d say that’s pretty damned different. And it’s kind of sad because she was happy back then with her husband—but so many things happened to cause the divorce in those 10 years that she’s rightfully really happy on her own now, too. But how to get back the 10 years that she’d lost in order to understand WHY? Why had she divorced the man with whom she was so desperately in love? What could have possibly happened?
And look at my own mom and dad. Look how different their lives would be!
Oh, wait. Never mind. Ten years ago they were divorced but still occasionally having sex…just like now. Same ol’, same ol’.
But for most people, life would be way different—either good or bad.
Like a lot of bloggers, I fancy myself a writer who just hasn’t hit it big yet. And I will admit that many times I’m jealous of a book’s concept, especially after I read the book. I’ll find myself thinking, “What a waste of a great concept! I could have written that book so much better than that author did—and she actually got published!”
Now come on...you've had the same thought a time or two, right?
But Liane Moriarty? She’s a master. Her character development is perfection—there’s nothing generic in any of the dialogue exchanged or the thoughts had by the characters—and she is still able to write her characters into fully-developed situations that leave so much mystery; mystery that you don’t even realize is vital to the story because you’re so engrossed in it.
And then when you’re finished, you sit back and revel in the clues that Moriarty tied together through flashes of memory and present-day experiences of the characters, and you sigh over the way she tied it all together in the most eye-opening, honest ending.
And even though you know that the whole book was perfection and that you wouldn’t change one single little thing, you still wish that somehow there could be 500 more pages of it because you simply didn’t want it to end.
SIGH. I fcking loved that book.
I’m giving away a copy of What Alice Forgot because it was the book that made me fall in love with Liane Moriarty’s work. Since writing the first draft of this post, I finished Big Little Lies and loved it, too.
Actually, I also really enjoyed her book The Husband’s Secret, so let's do this: If you've already read What Alice Forgot and would like to read another of Moriarty's books, I'll send you whichever one you want. You just tell me which one. It's not like this blog post is sponsored; I'm just going to head to my local book guy (yes, I have one) and order a copy of whatever I'm giving away. I'm buying it for the winner myself: That's how much I love Liane Moriarty's work.
Just leave a comment below to be entered into the giveaway. Share this post or my blog link somewhere (I don’t care if you write it on a dirty napkin and leave it in the trash can at the local diner, dammit, as long as there's a chance that someone might see it on its way into the dumpster, thereby gaining me a little free publicity) for an additional entry, and just let me know that you did it in the comment that you leave. I’ll announce the winner in exactly one week.