Every so often, I'll start browsing my local library's website and end up with a dozen or so books on hold for me. This happened pretty recently, so there's been a tote full of library books next to the kitchen table, just waiting for me to read them. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty is one of the first ones that I've picked up to read, and I gave it 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4 stars on Goodreads!).
What Alice Forgot is a lot of fun, pure and simple. It's definitely a great summer read, though it might be a little hefty for a beach/vacation book. I'm a huge fan of the Confessions of a Shopaholic series (I own nearly every book), and What Alice Forgot had a very similar vibe. Sure, some of that is because Confessions of a Shopaholic is written by a British author, and What Alice Forgot is written by an Aussie. There was something immensely soothing about Moriarty's tone and cadence, and I'll definitely have to compare that to her more serious works, if and when I get around to reading Big Little Lies!
For me, What Alice Forgot got a 3.5 for a few reasons. For one, the length. At 423 pages, it was a whopper of a chicklit book, and there were definitely a few too many stories going on at once. The readers do get a really good look at Alice's sister's story as Elisabeth writes to her therapist, and I think that just having it be Alice and Elisabeths' stories would have worked out perfectly. However, Moriarty also included the sisters' adoptive grandmother, Frannie's, point of view, and that was a bit too much. I would honestly love a standalone book about Frannie, I thought she was adorable and I loved her backstory, but it was too much to juggle when I was really just focused on if Alice would get her memories back.
Another reason What Alice Forgot got a 3.5 from me is because of the romantic aspect. I get that it's a romantic comedy, but I think the ending would have been improved if maybe Alice had pushed that aside. She seems very focused on her romantic life, and I think Alice alone is maybe better than Alice-with-Nick or Alice-with-Dominick. I was also surprised to see that she ends up with Nick in the epilogue. To be honest, Nick was not a likable or redeemable character to me. It seemed like Moriarty was trying to show that their marital issues came from both Alice and Nick, but to me, Nick seemed to be the villain throughout the book. He laughed Alice off really easily (a theme throughout the book is that everyone around Alice, at some point or another, goes Oh, Alice and brushes her off), and is really nasty to her many times. There was definitely a point in the book where I thought maybe they could make it work, but right after Alice gets her memories back, she realizes Nick was using her amnesia to try and win their custody battle. That's just such an awful thing to do!! I'm getting riled up just thinking about it.
That being said, there was a lot of things about What Alice Forgot that I really enjoyed. I thought there were quite a few moments that were laugh-out-loud funny. I LOVED Alice's kids, and I especially loved them in the epilogue, to see how they had all started to grow up. That really warmed my heart. And in the exact opposite way, I did really love that Moriarty went into some detail about Elisabeth's infertility struggles. Some parts of her "homework" for her therapist were so chilling and upsetting that they definitely stood out from the rest of the fun romcom, but they were incredibly necessary. They gave Elisabeth -- and Alice, to some extent -- so much depth, and made the book deal with actual, real issues. I was actually glad that Elisabeth got what Moriarty deems a happy ending, but I would have liked it even better if she had never had a biological child, and still adopted.
Overall, What Alice Forgot was like a party that stretches on a bit too long. It was fun and full of interesting people -- and, like all parties I'm sure, a few who I couldn't stand! -- but eventually, it was time to go home. I'm looking forward to the movie adaptation, whenever that ends up coming out (Jennifer Aniston is apparently playing Alice!), and for now, What Alice Forgot will go back to the library.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers' copy of The Girl With More Than One Heart at the Texas Library Association Conference. This has in no way affected my rating, review, or opinion of this book. Some of the links in this review are affiliate links.