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…
I don’t read adult books often, but after seeing a high school friend post about What Alice Forgot on her blog, Wholly Margaret, I was tempted to give this book a try. The premise seemed promising: a woman wakes up and can’t remember anything that has happened in the last decade of her life. The book was checked out at the library, but when I found a copy at the local thrift store it seemed like fate.
The beginning really hooked me right off the bat. The story jumps right in with Alice waking up very confused and certain that it is 1998 and that she is pregnant with her first child. One of the most interesting aspects of the book for me was watching Alice try to piece together the bits of information she was getting from different sources to figure out how and why the relationships she has with the most important people in her life have started to fall apart. There were so many mysteries that arose as a result of Alice forgetting so much of her life, and, for me, those were what propelled the book. What Alice Forgot sucked me through the story, and gave me a lot to think about.
I’m not in the same place that Alice is at the beginning of the book (29, married, and pregnant), but a lot of my friends are starting to get engaged and married (ahhhh) and a couple have even had babies on purpose (AHHHHH). I can already imagine how easy it would be to get stuck in the suburban rut without even realizing it has happened. The book really made me think about how many small decisions over time result in shaping who people become and what kind of lives they lead. I worry a lot about my future, but as this books reminds me, this is an exercise in futility. 29 year old Alice could not have predicted how she would be at 39 because a whole decade of experience influenced who she became. Ten years ago I was in 8th grade. I was in the middle of my anime/ manga obsession. I believed that I would learn Japanese in college and would probably live in Japan for a while. We may or may not have hit the start of my Wicked obsession, in which case my life ambition was to star as Galinda in Wicked on Broadway. While I wouldn’t say no to those things, they certainly don’t top my wish or goal list. Even in 8th grade I wanted to be a writer, so at least that’s consistent. However, there’s no way 8th grade me could have predicted where I would be or the sort of the person I’ve evolved into. 8th grade me didn’t even know she would be finishing high school in China and that was something that had a HUGE impact. I can’t even begin to imagine where I’ll be 10 years from now, so I should focus more on the present. Will I probably still worry about the future anyway? Yes.
As Ferris Buller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”