For some reason trying to find this particular cover online is very difficult!
‘Remember the woman you used to be …
Alice is twenty-nine. She is whimsical, optimistic and adores sleep, chocolate, her ramshackle new house and her wonderful husband Nick. What’s more, she’s looking forward to the birth of the ‘Sultana’ – her first baby.
But now Alice has slipped and hit her head in her step-aerobics class and everyone’s telling her she’s misplaced the last ten years of her life.
In fact, it would seem that Alice is actually thirty-nine and now she loves schedules, expensive lingerie, caffeine and manicures. She has three children and the honeymoon is well and truly over for her and Nick. In fact, he looks at her like she’s his worst enemy. What’s more, her beloved sister Elisabeth isn’t speaking to her either. And who is this ‘Gina’ everyone is so carefully trying not to mention?
Alice isn’t sure that she likes life ten years on. Every photo is another memory she doesn’t have and nothing makes sense. Just how much can happen in a decade? Has she really lost her lovely husband for ever?’
With a bit of a bumpy ride at the beginning I was ready to give up the ghost. However with a little perseverance the story started to grown on me. I had very similar feelings about Moriarty’s previous book ‘The Husband’s Secret‘. The story started to pick up for me around page 60.
With Alice meandering her way through a ‘new’ life and trying desperately to remember the ‘old’ one we are taken through the trials and tribulations of parenthood, sisterhood, friendship and love. The story is told from three points of view and in three different forms – Granny Frannie via her blog (I found this hilarious!), Elisabeth through her homework diary and Alice with the majority of the narrative.
It was nice to have such breaks in the story and the chopping and changing from each opinion made it a much easier read and less monotonous. I did at times feel myself getting irritated by the characters – even Frannie! Come on Granny Frannie KISS HIM ALREADY! (You have to read it to find out!).
Now as I have yet to hit the 30 mark many would think there is not much of my life that I can look back on. However I have managed to pack in a great deal in the past 10 years, some of which I would not like to happen again, other parts that I honestly wish I could recapture and hold on to for dear life and a few bits that I have honestly forgotten completely. This is a story that does get you thinking – ‘If I hit my head and lost my memory what would I be like and what would I change?’. The overall answer would most likely be ‘I don’t know until I hit my head!’
Admittedly there were parts of the book where I just wanted to throw the book down and scream at Alice to shut up and get on with it or REMEMBER please and get to the point.
When her memory begins to return the depths of her sadness over the lost of her best friend start to creep into the story line and I must admit I shed a fair few tears at this point. Have your tissues to hand people. Within such memories however there are those that remind her of the good times that were shared with other characters in the story.
As the book is about Alice that is all I am going to say about her and will move on to the other two POV’s.
From the beginning of the story I liked the way the book was written from the point of view of Elisabeth. Although slightly detached with what is really happening with Alice eventually things start to come together. Personally I got the feeling that everything with Elisabeth had to be very clear-cut and always defined with spy like scrutiny. Being very concise with her feelings and quite shut down does not allow you to get to know Elisabeth until the end of the book however when you do I am sure much like mine your heart will break for her and repair with hers.
There are parts where you think she is just plainly cold-hearted but give her a chance and KEEP READING! Elisabeth really redeems herself when she tries to guide her sister into remembering her previously life and being with her every step of the way. There are a many part of the book that had me holding onto my chair however I will only share a couple with you as they were the two that I found absolutely hilarious and actually laughed out loud IN PUBLIC (they also do not give too much away!).
‘She’s accident prone. She ran through those French doors last year and had to have forty-two stitches. It was very traumatic. A lot of blood. Apparently, Tom called the ambulance and Olivia fainted.’ – I know it sounds a bit sadistic to laugh at something like that but when you read it for yourself you will get the context and it is hilarious.
‘She’s very loving – maybe too loving. I remember her squatting down in the kitchen saying, ‘Hello, little fella.’ and we all looked down and saw she was trying to pat a cockroach. Mum nearly dropped dead on the spot.’ Once again a bit sadistic however in the correct context this was incredibly cute and hilarious at the same time.
Both of the above are direct quotes from the book
A frustrated Granny Frannie made me laugh the most through her medium of blogging she told the world-wide web about her problems at her current residential home with a very mysterious Gentleman X. With her fan club following and such comments from previous students and avid readers Frannie relives her glory days to some extent and enlightens us on parts of Alice’s past which help us piece together how she became the person she is now.
There is a lovely part in the book that Frannie takes away the quote marks and gives in to her title of Grandmother – something that I will reveal no more about and you will just have to read. There is a talent show at the end that will have you tearing up as well as giggling and Frannie in her own right steals the show.
There are good and bad points about the book however I would say the good really does outweigh the bad once you get past the first 60 pages. At first it was a bit of an uphill struggle as I mentioned above. However most definitely worth the read and it had me thinking about it for a couple of days after I put it down. There was the feeling of being glad that I had finished it but only because there are many other books that I need to read. It is a good book if you like a bit of romance, chick lit and something that you want to think a little but not too deeply. It will not leave you emotionally scarred which is great however there are sensitive parts of the book that may bring out the tears you have been storing up for a while.
The End . . .
Not what I expected at all. Nothing more needs to be said about the book apart from read it and soon.
That being said I would like to send a big Thank You to Penguin for sending me the book and cute Tote Bag which I have hung up proudly and will use very soon (economical shopping with less plastic bags – here I come!).
Liane Moriarty’s website is great as there are a couple of her other books that you can read about.
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