What Alice Forgot

Okay, book club friends, it’s time to discuss What Alice Forgot!

What Alice Forgot

Brief Summary

What Alice Forgot follows the life of Alice, a 39-year-old woman who wakes up on the floor of her gym after falling off a spinning bike. Alice awakes in 2008, convinced it’s 10 years earlier. She believes she’s pregnant with her first child and happily married as she was back in 1998. She quickly realizes that she has three children and is in the middle of divorcing her husband. The book follows Alice as she figures out what happened during the last 10 years of her life to make her new life so different than she ever would have imagined.

My Review (With Spoilers)

Within the first 20 pages, What Alice Forgot pulled me in. I longed for Alice to get her memory back and figure out what happened to her marriage. I wanted her to put the pieces back together and discover something that would make everything make sense again. I wanted her to figure out how her once playful and happy marriage ended up in complete disarray.

I really liked the way the author peeled back the details that led to the demise of Alice’s marriage (and her shaky relationship with her sister). It kept me intrigued and guessing, though I never felt like my mind fully went down the path the author was leading me down with her clues. I was never completely shocked when some of the “big reveals” came to light – like the non-affair between Alice’s husband and her best friend – and almost wish the author would’ve done more to make me feel like they were legitimate to lead to a bigger twist. I like to be shocked! The book was definitely long, so I will say that I found myself a little frustrated at times when I felt like the book was dragging and I was ready for Alice to remember more.(This happened mostly toward the beginning of the book before big memories started to come to light.)

One thing that really stuck out to me about this book is just how plausible Alice’s situation is in real life. I married Ryan two years ago, so I feel like we’re still very much in Alice and Nick’s newlywed stage, but even now we have issues within our relationship that need work and constant communication. Alice’s initial disbelief that her relationship could ever end in divorce is something that freaked me out a little bit, as I would assume no one gets married thinking their relationship will not work out. Every marriage requires effort and compromise. I really liked how the author didn’t give one major reason for Alice and Nick’s initial decision to divorce and gradually made it clear that so many little things culminated to cause them to get to the point in their marriage where they felt like it was unsalvageable.

And then we have the ending! Oh happy day!

I loved the ending. I loved the way the author initially made me think Alice and Nick ended up apart. I felt sad about their decision but oddly okay with it. Still, I held onto a glimmer of hope for Alice and Nick, so I was thrilled when the book took that turn in the epilogue and Alice and Nick were together again. Their relationship still wasn’t perfect, but I think that’s the whole point. No one has a perfect marriage.

I cannot end this review without addressing Elisabeth and Frannie! At first I really liked their contributions to the book. Elisabeth’s letters to her therapist provided a lot of insight into Alice’s new life in a creative way which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately as the book continued, I found myself simply wanting to read about Alice and reading through Elisabeth and Frannie’s sections to simply get through them rather than really enjoy their stories. At least I was happy with the way their two stories ended!

Blogger Link Up

You can find additional reviews of What Alice Forgot on the following blogs:

Discussion Questions

  • What did you think of the ending of the book? Were you hoping Alice and Nick would end up together?
  • Do you think it is realistic that Alice and Nick ended up together?
  • What did you think of Elisabeth and Frannie’s sections of the book?

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for including me in the link up, Julie! I really enjoyed this book and the happy ending. I agree with you about how you never think that your marriage will end in divorce. I think marriages can be work at times and Im glad Alice and Nick ended up staying together.

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  2. says

    I was also glad that the reason for the divorce was the “sum of small things.” It made Alice’s and Nick’s relationship a lot more relateable (a word, yes?), and in that way, the author’s warning or lesson for the reader doesn’t fall on deaf ears. We can all stand to be better communicators with friends and significant others alike.

    Since I’m super impatient, Elisabeth’s and Frannie’s stories were a little bit like trying to run in water for me. Painfully slow. I just kept wanting to get back to Alice (would rather have been running on concrete). Hmm… I guess I’m feeling metaphorical today? :P

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  3. says

    It took me awhile to get into this book, I definitely wasn’t pulled in from the start. I liked the character Alice and thought she was funny, but I agree that it moved slow and took awhile for the author to reveal some information (Gina, etc) that made me want to keep reading. Once I was into it, the book read fast, although I found the whole couple going through a divorce with three kids scenario to be very heartbreaking. I was oddly emotional during a lot of those scenes. I was 100% rooting for Nick and Alice to get back together, but understood why they were splitting up at first. I’m glad they ended up together in the end!

    And I never got too immersed in Frannie or Elizabeth’s story lines…probably because I had a feeling from the start that they would work out in the end so there wasn’t much keeping me interested. Oh and I agree, there wasn’t anything too shocking or revealing that surprised me in any major way, which I was a little disappointed in. I also like to be surprised, or at least to struggle with guessing the outcome! haha

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  4. ashleyC says

    I don’t think it’s realistic that Alice and Nick got back together. If she hadn’t lost her memory, then they wouldn’t have. It’s hard to overcome a lot of little problems and the resentment that builds up over time. That’s why I liked that Nick said he’d know when Alice got her memory back because she’d look at him differently. But, it was hard not to root for them to get back together since I could see both sides. I would have been satisfied if they didn’t though. And, I was so glad that Elizabeth’s story ended the way it did. And, as a side note, young Alice was a little whiney and annoying to me at times. And, I also felt like the book lagged in places, but I think that mirrored how Alice was feeling. She was just slugging through trying to remember anything.

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  5. Laura says

    I didn’t read this book, but your review makes me want to. I think it’s really interesting to approach the situation from this point of view – it can be all too easy to let the days, weeks, months go by without stopping to think about what your life is becoming and how you may have unintentionally gone in a direction you never would have wished for yourself. I can definitely see how a this could happen to a lot of marriages, and it’s a good reminder to take a step back every so often and make sure that you are addressing issues that can creep up in relationships. I’m intrigued!

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  6. says

    I was also really pulling for Alice and Nick to end up together and also initially thought they weren’t going to. I really liked the way the epilogue wrapped everything up. I also agree with you on Frannie and Elizabeth. I liked reading their parts, but I did find myself wanting to just get back to Alice. All-in-all, I really enjoyed the book, but it’s not on my favorites list. ;)

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  7. says

    I’m only like 70% through. I didn’t get to read as much (at all) as I thought I would during my time off. I keep telling my husband how I don’t want us to end up hating each other like the characters in the book, lol.

    I also keep thinking how terrible it would be to lose the last ten years. Besides my husband, I’d lose all my college and work experience. I’d be useless! Thankfully, it’s an unlikely scenario :D

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  8. says

    I loved this book. I felt like the author painted a very realistic picture of how relationships all too often disintegrate over time due to a lack of communication & just petty little things that add up over the years.

    I adored the ending & how Alice realized that even with their flaws, Nick still understood their life in a way that nobody else could.

    Beautiful story with a thought provoking message at the heart!

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  9. says

    I really enjoyed this book, but I really fixated on thinking about what would happen if I had forgot the last 10 yrs of my life to be 24 and act and think I am 14 would be interesting to say the least! I was rooting for nick and alice to get back together, I kept saying to myself why are you getting divorced! I also kept thinking how awkward it must be for her to find out she turned in to such a bword lol

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  10. Tina says

    As someone who has been reading but not commenting for about the last four months I figured this was my time to get involved. I read this book as part of your book club recommendation and frickin’ loved it! At times I felt a little bit sorry for Alice, but the book keeps you guessing about why she’s changed so much and just who Gina is. I was a bit sad when I thought she ended up with the head teacher so the old romantic in me was thrilled when she finally saw sense :)

    Looking forward to the next review and thanks for a great blog – I love reading about your life in Florida, much more exciting than mine in rainy London!

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  11. Brooke says

    I really enjoyed this book! I had never heard of it before until I read the summary on your blog whenever you were picking the book of the month and decided to try it out. I was immediately sucked in and read it in about three days. I just wanted to find out what happened and I had so many flip flopping emotions toward Alice. At first I thought she had turned into a complete snob, not giving back her engagement ring that was a family heirloom and all that. Then you learn that she wanted to keep it for her daughter, and things like that. You definitely have to read the whole book in order to understand the characters fully.

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  12. says

    I agree that the book seemed a bit too long, and it took me awhile to get pulled in, but eventually I got pretty intrigued. I agree that the foreshadowing was a bit too obvious, but I did enjoy reading as her story unfolded. And I loved how there was a happy ending but it wasn’t a totally perfect ending, that it held true to the reality that there were issues in their marriage that needed addressing and they didn’t just magically end up back together like it was 10 years ago. All in all, a pretty good read, although I don’t think I’m going to recommend it to my friends like I did with books I truly loved like Divergent and Hunger Games!

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  13. says

    I think you hit the nail on the head for what made this book so compelling, the author made it feel like it could happen to the happiest of couples, because everyone has problems. It shows the importance of communication and how easily it can break down over time and cause little problems to turn into big ones. When older Alice was talking to her friends about why she was getting a divorce they said she mentioned how Nick always put her down and she never felt like he really respected her. Young Alice couldn’t understand that, sure Nick teased her and got exasperated sometimes, but she never took it seriously and always viewed it in a loving way. This was the biggest takeaway from the book for me, it wasnt that young Alice and Nick were perfect, they just communicated and handled their issues better. I feel like Josh and I have as close to perfect a relationship as you could possibly have, but we absolutely have things we have to work on in our relationship. Our wedding is in six months and I think this was the perfect book to read, I do not want to wake up like Alice 10 years from now.

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  14. Lacie says

    First off, this is my first time participating in your book club, and I’m pretty excited!!

    I was rooting for Nick and Alice to get back together, but I felt like a big reason they got back together was because of their history (past memories, the kids, etc), not because they necessarily loved each other the same way they always had. I have never been married, but to me although that stuff is important, a relationship requires much more?

    And I loved the Elisabeth and Frannie aspects of the book! Especially the Elisabeth parts, because I thought she added a lot of depth to the book.

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  15. Sammy Jean says

    I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. I feel like I always root for the relationships… but I really wasn’t in this book. I feel like she could have done a lot more with the relationship between Alice and Dominick. He got the raw deal, and seemed like such a nice guy! I guess maybe I wasn’t rooting for Alice and Nick because they treated each other with such malice and hate. They specifically did things to hurt each other, like Alice keeping the ring not because she liked it but so that the “flakes” couldn’t have it. I’m not married yet, but I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 10 (!) years. I can’t EVER imagine hating him and everything about him. And I guess that’s why this book challenged me. It certainly was tough to swallow!

    I really enjoyed the parts by Elizabeth and Frannie, but I agree that I was just skimming them by the end. Frannie’s story was compelling, but I don’t really see what it how it contributed to the bigger picture besides developing Frannie’s character.

    Overall, I really liked the book. Not something I would normally read, but that’s why we do this! Thanks for your comments, Julie!

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  16. says

    I haven’t read this one yet, but your comment about people not thinking about their marriage never ending in a divorce caused me pause. My husband and I were together for four years before we got married. We lived together for 2.5 years before our wedding. We read 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married to see if we were on the same page when it came to the big issues. I made it fully clear that I was intent on marrying once and only once. We resolved our (few) disagreements before we tied the knot.

    I do NOT say this to say that you and Ryan are anything less than meant for one another. Simply that my grandparents were together for over sixty years and I fully intend on making my marriage last just as long. Divorce? It could happen. I don’t deny that. But as of right now (over six years in) I can’t picture anything more perfect than what I already have. And I can’t fathom anything tearing us apart. Am I naive? I’ll check back in with you in a decade ;)

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  17. Trish says

    Hi there!
    I’ve been a reader for about a year now but this is my first comment! I love that you’re doing an online book club and this is my first time joining in. I agreed with your review. I didn’t mind Elisabeth’s letters but I didn’t understand why Frannie’s letters were included. Maybe if we learned a little bit more about Frannie and her relationship with the family it would make more sense. I agree that the length was a little long, too. I’m also a hopeless romantic so was thrilled when Alice and Nick got back together! I really couldn’t stand the kids for awhile there, though. Whiny and needed and constantly complaining. Yikes!

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  18. says

    Although I didn’t participate in this months book review…I will be participating in this coming up one! I love that you include other people’s blogs and reviews! I will definitely be putting up a review on my blog once I’m done with the book! Seeing all those other reviews introduced me to some great blogs! Thanks :)

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  19. Betsy says

    I read this book about a year ago and loved loved it- glad to see you review it! Def check out the author’s other books- Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, and the The Hypnotist’s Love Story. All great reads.

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  20. Hollie says

    I was pulled in instantly! Just like you the surprise Alice had when she realized her marriage was on the rocks, freaked me out as a newlywed. It really brings to light that a lot can happen in just 10 years. I’ve been married for only 3 months, and I’ve already noticed a little more robotism in me like Alice had with the kids and their school (and we don’t even have kids!). Luckily my husband is very happy go lucky and carefree, so this book opened my eyes to stop and enjoy the fun with him- not just focus on the things we have to do. And this was hard to admit :) I was so happy to read the ending. I really wanted them back together, they way she yearned for him when she lost her memory initially. I typically don’t go for the always happy ending chick novels, but this one had me cheering for Nick and Alice. I did prefer Elizabeth’s role more than Frannie’s, and honestly, I found myself just skimming over their letters so I could get back to the story line. Gina was a cliff hanger of a subject and was happy to read how she fit in at the end. I would’ve normally not pick this up at the bookstore, so I really appreciate your book club!

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  21. Jeanie says

    My thoughts on the novel….
    I teach in a community where the mom’s I are VERY much like “new” alice. They are thin, scheduled, health conscious, and frequently commenting on the husband’s work “obsession”. Furthermore, these woman are VERY interconnected, like Alice and her Mom friends. Alice and Gina’s relationship is another level I enjoyed, because It goes to show your how a some friendships are simply too powerful. Nick was clearly jealous of Gina from the start for spending so much time with Alice, and perhaps even for controlling her life and choices. In addition, “old” Alice is even unsure of Gina’s true power over her, and almost balks at her controlling nature. Some personalities are simply so strong they take over those around them.
    Another interesting tidbit was the thought of “catching” another couple’s divorce. The thought of this made me laugh initially; but after reading about all the little things that went wrong for Alice and Nick, and their inseparable connection with Gina and her then husband, it is not that far off! I realized when you surround yourself with those who have struggles, issues, etc, it is important to have sympathy, offer support or maybe even be empathetic at time, but not to own and internalize their problems. Do not look for their issues in your relationships, because even one has sometimes different going on.
    Lastly, I loved that they ended up together in the end, and feel that it was a “real ending. They also had real children! I sometimes hate in books how kids are portrayed as angels ( sort of of like young Olivia in this book). When in fact, no child is perfect. They all bring their own set of quirks, hopes and personality to the table that should be appreciated for what it is, even if it is obnoxious at times!
    All in all I really like the book, and the lesson I took from it: Communicate with your partner openly and honestly. Don’t let things fester for too long, or speak in a belittling tone. Because for more reasons then one, this person is your partner in life, you best friend: embrace them and give it your all. At times , this won’t be enough, and in other instances it will be ;)

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  22. marnel says

    I really enjoyed this book. The author took a far-fetched situation, and made it believable. I loved Alice’s character, as well as those of Nick, and Elisabeth. I thought the author could have skipped “Frannies Letters to Phil” but I enjoyed the “homework” Elisabeth composed. The only portion of the book that I did not like at all was the fundraiser/pie contest. Too weird. Overall, a really fun read.

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  23. says

    I was hoping Nick and Alice would end up together, so I’m glad that’s how the book ended. I think that Alice gained a new perspective on their lives after her accident, which (I think) makes it realistic that they could get back together.

    As far as the letters go, I thought that Elisabeth’s really added to the story, but I could have done without Frannie’s. I really didn’t get their relationship until the very end, and I also didn’t understand who Phil was. I could have done without those parts.

    Overall, I enjoyed the book, even though I found it frustrating in parts!

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  24. Delisa says

    There is a recipe for Moussaka in the Clean Eating Magazine. I can’t remember which issue, probably a year or two back. But I have made it before and it was very easy and clean!

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  25. says

    Okay, finally getting to comment on this! Loved your review! I like how you went all-out with the spoilers. I wasn’t sure if I should do that, but next time, I’m holding nothin’ back!

    I was also frustrated with the pace of the book and got bored in the beginning, just wanting Alice to get her memory back already. I too was upset/shocked by the concept of a happy marriage turning into divorce.

    I think it’s realistic that they ended up together, but I wish their getting back together wasn’t just so random. I feel like the ending wasn’t believeable the way the author wrote it. At the very end with the twist, I think I would have thrown the book out the window if they hadn’t ended up together, though. Overall, it was an entertaining holiday read. Glad I joined ya!

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  26. says

    Hello!

    I know I tardy to the party, late to chime in. I just finished this book this past weekend, and loved it very much. I do agree with your assessment that the Elisabeth and Frannie parts got a little boring. I tried to start reading the Secret Keeper after I finished, but I feel like I am still engaged in the characters lives. I really want to know how Elisabeths is doing with her new baby, and I really wish I got to know Gina. Maybe the author should put out another book-Before What Alice Forgot lol.

    Is anyone else dying to know the recipe for the low-fat high fiber simply delicious muffins Alice was famous for? I guess this is the downside of reading fiction.

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