I had been looking out for a Liane Moriarty book to read for a long time as I had many people extolling her storytelling to me. As a reticent buyer of new to me authors, I was waiting for a library copy of any of her books. As testament to her popularity, the numerous library copies had long reservation lists which I could have chosen to join but I really dislike reading with the pressure of a library borrower waiting list breathing down my neck. Eventually, I saw an MP3 audiobook of Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot on the shelf and as it was a rare day that I had driven to work, I borrowed it and played it on my 45 minute drive home. My discussion of the book will be twofold. The first will be about the story and then about the excruciating experience of listening to the audiobook. But first, the blurb:
What Alice Forgot
by Liane Moriarty
(MP3 audiobook narrated by Caroline Lee)
‘She was floating, arms outspread, water lapping her body, breathing in a summery fragrance of salt and coconut. She had to squint through spangles of light to see her feet. Her toenails were each painted a different colour. Red. Gold. Purple. Funny.’ When Alice Love surfaces from a beautiful dream to find she’s been injured in a gym, she knows that something is very wrong – she hates exercise. Alice’s first concern is her baby – she’s pregnant with her first child, and she’s desperate to see her husband, Nick, who she knows will be worried about her.
But Alice isn’t pregnant. And Nick isn’t worried. Alice is the mother of three children and her hostile husband is in the process of divorcing her. Alice has lost ten years of her life.
Alice’s sister Elisabeth, who seems uncharacteristically cold, drives her home from the hospital. And ‘home’ is totally unrecognisable, as is the rest of her life. Who is this ‘Gina’ that everyone is carefully trying not to mention? Why does her mother look like she’s wearing fancy dress? And what’s all this talk about a giant lemon meringue pie?
In the days that follow, small bubbles of the past rise to the surface, and Alice is forced to confront uncomfortable truths. It turns out forgetting might be the most memorable thing that’s ever happened to her.