What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – My Review

Alice

What’s it all about:

Alice is twenty-nine. She adores sleep, chocolate, and her ramshackle new house. She’s newly engaged to the wonderful Nick and is pregnant with her first baby.

There’s just one problem. All of that was ten years ago . . .

Alice has slipped in a step-aerobics class, hit her head and lost a decade. Now she’s a grown-up, bossy mother of three in the middle of a nasty divorce and her beloved sister Elisabeth isn’t speaking to her. This is her life but not as she knows it.

Clearly Alice has made some terrible mistakes. Just how much can happen in a decade?

Can she ever get back to the woman she used to be?

Review

Liane Moriarty has fast become one of my favourite authors. After reading Big Little Lies I found myself searching Amazon to buy more of her books and so What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret were my next investments.
What Alice Forgot is one of those books that forces you to be reflective, to think about your own life – how would you act, feel, love, if you lost a decade of memories. It made me smile, laugh, ponder my own life and marriage. I adore a book that makes you think and think I did. Alice Love has had a nasty bump on the head, a nasty bump that has caused her to lose the last ten years of her life. As far as Alice is concerned, she’s 29 years old, pregnant with her first child and decorating their new dream home with her husband, Nick. So when she wakes up after a trip and fall at the gym, is carried out on a stretcher and taken to hospital, all Alice can think is how silly it all is that people are making such a fuss. And why on earth is she at the gym with a woman she never particularly liked?Alice Love has had a nasty bump on the head, a nasty bump that has caused her to lose the last ten years of her life. As far as Alice is concerned, she’s 29 years old, pregnant with her first child and decorating their new dream home with her husband, Nick. So when she wakes up after a trip and fall at the gym, is carried out on a stretcher and taken to hospital, all Alice can think is how silly it all is that people are making such a fuss. And why on earth is she at the gym with a woman she never particularly liked?

Alice Love has had a nasty bump on the head, a nasty bump that has caused her to lose the last ten years of her life. As far as Alice is concerned, she’s 29 years old, pregnant with her first child and decorating their new dream home with her husband, Nick. So when she wakes up after a trip and fall at the gym, is carried out on a stretcher and taken to hospital, all Alice can think is how silly it all is that people are making such a fuss. And why on earth is she at the gym with a woman she never particularly liked?

When her sister, Elizabeth arrives at the hospital, Alice just wants Nick. Why hasn’t Nick arrived? What is he doing in Portugal? Why can her sister barely look her in the eye and why, when she does speak to Nick, does he hate her so much?

Of course, ten years on Alice has not only had one child, she has had three and cannot remember a single thing about them. The thought of being left alone with them terrifies her and Nick isn’t much help. They are on the brink of divorce and fighting for custody of the children so he believes everything that she does has a motive behind it, that she always has an angle and is trying to make him look bad. If I’m honest, I felt drained for them both.

Snippets of Alice’s memory try to make a return, a smell with trigger an emotion but she cannot seem to pull out an actual memory. Her family warm to the new old Alice, the Alice that isn’t busy, busy, busy, the Alice that will eat a custard tart without thinking of calories, the Alice that isn’t a bitch.

Along with Alice’s POV we’re treat to a diary of sorts from her sister who is recording events in a journal for her therapist. We learn more about Alice and how she changed from the girl they all loved to the girl who would rather spend time with her new friend Gina than her sister or husband. Alice learns that everything seems to lead back to Gina as the book goes on and when we finally think we have the answers as to who Gina is….we don’t. We don’t even truly have the answers as to who Alice is and what went so wrong between her and Nick until nearer the end.

I cannot express how much I loved this book. The characters felt like they were a part of my life, my heart broke for Alice again and again as she became lost in the new world that she had created for herself but didn’t have a clue how. I longed for Nick’s armour to come down, for a happy ever after for the couple but the way the story pans out to me was perfectly realistic and appropriate. I believed every word I was reading and genuinely wish I could go back and read it for the first time all over again.

For anyone looking for a book to spend their Christmas money or voucher on, anyone looking for a book that will pull you in and keep you in a vice like grip setting you free bit by tiny bit while you hold your breath in anticipation for what else Alice forgot then this is the book for you. I could ramble on for hours and hours but won’t. Just buy it. Please.

5 STARS

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – My Review

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What’s it all about:

Single mum Jane has just moved to town. She’s got her little boy in tow – plus the secret she’s been carrying for five years.

On the first day of the school run she meets Madeline – a force to be reckoned with, who remembers everything and forgives no one – and Celeste, the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but is inexplicably ill at ease. They both take Jane under their wing – while careful to keep their own secrets under wraps.

But a minor incident involving the children of all three women rapidly escalates: playground whispers become spiteful rumours until no one can tell the truth from the lies.

Which is when the secrets come out – and now someone is going to pay with their life…

I bought this book some time ago after perusing (read, spending HOURS) looking at the wonderful Reese Witherspoon’s Instagram account – which is a beauty, you really should all go check her out. Anyway, I digress. SO, Reese Witherspoon had a photograph of Big Little Lies on her Instagram along with a few other books, and after being drawn to the cover, I decided that next time I was in Tescos, I’d  buy it. Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are also making the book into a TV series which I will most definitely be watching after reading the book.

Review

Big Little Lies focuses on the lives of 3 women in Australia whose children are all starting kindergarten at the same time. There is the fiercely loyal and slightly overdramatic Madeline, the beautiful but seemingly vacant Celeste, and the new mum to the area, Jane. The story takes place over the course of 6 months in the build up to trivia night, where we discover that something quite traumatic and sinister has happened. A parent has been murdered.

I did worry at first that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the many names that were thrown at me when the story began but of course, once you get past the first section which is really a police interview with fellow kindergarten parents and teachers, you get into the flow of the story and begin to fall for both the characters’ charms and flaws.

At orientation day for the children, the daughter of an obnoxious and career driven mother, Renata, is attacked by a fellow child. The child appears to have attempted to strangle the young girl and when the son of Jane has the finger pointed at him by the victim, all hell breaks loose. Madeline is fiercely loyal to Jane, who I have to point out she just met that day, but nonetheless, she defends Jane and young Ziggy (yes, really) to the point where playground war is all but declared. Team Madeline, or Team Renata.

The story focuses on Madeline, Celeste and Jane each in turn which I find really helps you get to know the characters even better.

Jane is a single mum at  24 to 5 year old Ziggy, and doesn’t know anyone in the area. She keeps herself to herself and tries her best to defend and protect her child as more and more outrageous accusations are thrown their way. Ziggy is declared a bully and when a petition is passed around the playground to have him kicked out, your heart really does go out to poor Jane. But in gradual trickles, we see how Jane can’t help but wonder whether her son could indeed be a bully. The worry, the concern, the panic that her precious boy could be what those people are saying weighs heavily on her mind until finally, she confides in Madeline that Ziggy is in fact, the product of a rape and Jane worries whether Ziggy could have inherited some of his father’s uglier traits. Madeline is obviously outraged on Jane’s behalf but sworn to secrecy.

Madeline is also going through her own personal hell. Her youngest daughter is starting kindergarten the same day as Ziggy….and her ex-husband’s daughter! To have your ex and his new wife living so close and their child in the same class must have been soul destroying. Although Madeline has moved on and has married again, you can’t help but feel the hurt she still feels and the anger towards her ex who abandoned Madeline when their eldest daughter, his daughter, was just a baby. Of course, to make matters worse, the eldest daughter much prefers spending time with her dad and step-mum and announces one day that she’s moving in with them. I did love Madeline, even if she sometimes seemed to get just the slightest bit of pleasure at having someone else’s problems being a welcomed distraction for her own. She was human, she was flawed, but she also knew it. She had a huge heart and quick wit and between Madeline and Celeste, you just knew that Jane was in safe hands.

Now, Celeste. When we’re first introduced to Celeste, you get a woman who is married to an obscenely rich man, Perry, who adores her and their twin boys (who are also starting kindergarten) and showers them all with gifts every time he returns from a business trip. We learn that Perry can do no wrong, not only is he a devoted family man with a big fat bank account, he is also extraordinarily generous and a master at gift buying. When the family go to Canada at Christmas and we’re reading about Celeste’s thoughts, I almost gasped aloud when on Christmas Day, she looks at her husband and thinks about how there was really no need to leave him just yet, not until their boys finished high school…. ‘On the day they finished their last exams. ‘Put down your pens,’ the exam supervisors would say. That’s when Celeste would put down her marriage.’ But of course, no marriage is perfect, and we eventually learn just how toxic her life really is.

It’s so incredibly hard for me not to shout out the hows and the whys I loved this book without revealing some spoilers. So, sooooo hard. Liane is truly a wordsmith that pulls you in and keeps you in her grasp until she’s ready to let you go, ready to let you fall into the world her characters are living in and just when you think you understand….WHAM. You don’t. You really, really don’t. As you creep steadily around each corner, you wonder what curveball she will hit you with next.

I don’t even have enough stars to give this book haha but let me tell you something dear readers, Liane Moriarty has written 4 other books and at some point tonight, I will be buying those bad boys! All of them. Which probably means that yet again, the cleaning will wait and the meals will be….well, salad! I urge you all to put Big Little Lies on your TBR list or regret it forever.

Big Little Lies is a big ol’

5 STARS

Buy the book on Amazon UK / US

Until next time book lovers 😉

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