Sometimes you fall out with people. You don’t choose to, but you drift apart and eventually one day they’re not there any more.
When you talk to people about it you say, “Oh, they’ve changed.”
Only, they haven’t. Or they have, but you have too. We all change, and it’s so gradual that we don’t really notice.
Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot looks at this idea.
Thirty-nine year old Alice Love goes to the gym and has a fall. When she wakes up she believes she is 29, pregnant, and still madly in love with her husband Nick. Not only is she not pregnant, but she now has three children and is on the verge of divorcing Nick.
There are flowers from another man in Alice’s bedroom. There’s a mysterious card in her bag from another unknown man who talks about “happier times”. Alice’s eldest child is an absolute monster, far from the harmless “Sultana” she harboured in her belly ten years prior to her accident. Alice Love is now in utterly unknown territory. And she’s horrified to find out that the 39-year-old Alice Love is an absolute bitch: not someone she likes at all!
This story is nicely told, with the narrative shifting between three points of view. One is a third-person subjective point of view from Alice, another is Alice’s sister’s therapy journal, and the third is the utterly endearing blog kept by Alice’s grandmother. While having three points of view in the story has the potential to go awfully wrong, Liane Moriarty has executed this beautifully.
The story gripping, showing the reader peeks of the life that Alice has forgotten, masterful in its release of information.
Liane has written a novel that falls through your hands like grains of sand – I thought “yes, just one more chapter”…”just one more!”…each night that I sat up reading it, and chewed though the entire thing in 3 sittings.
It takes a lot for a book to make me cry. But this one did.
It also made me think for a long time afterwards about the ways people change, and I wonder what myself five years ago would think of myself now?