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!

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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?


  1. 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 😉


  2. 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.


  3. 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!


  4. 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!


  5. 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!


  6. says


    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.


  7. Gerry T says

    I didn’t see too many men writing about their love of the book. I liked the book but felt disappointed in the happy endings for all. Also the character was presented as an ideal of how to integrate the past with the present. A little preachy I would say. A nice fairy tale.



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