“Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It’s light and bubbly.Anyone can love like that. But love after three children, after a separation and a near-divorce, after you’ve hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other and surprised each other, after you’ve seen the worst and the best—well, that sort of a love is ineffable. It deserves its own word.” - Liane Moriarty
Alice thinks she’s 29 years old – she and her husband Nick are desperately in love, renovating an old house, and she is pregnant with her first baby. Her sister Elisabeth is her best friend, and life couldn’t be better. In reality, she has just had a head injury at the gym and can’t remember the last ten years of her life. She is nearly 40, has three kids, is on the brink of divorce, and her relationship with her sister has become cold and stilted. She must try to put it all together and figure out who she is and what happened.
This book deals with a lot of heavy topics – divorce, death, the disintegration of a family, and infertility – in a way that takes them seriously but is still lighthearted enough to keep from being totally depressing. I found that I cared for the characters and I appreciated how we saw Alice’s complicated world through a fresh perspective. I liked the mystery of putting together what happened over the years and how bits and pieces emerged, and at times I was genuinely surprised.
There were cliches and gimmicks – the whole memory loss thing itself, for example, as well as showing Elisabeth’s perspective through journaling to her therapist. But they were an effective means to an end.
A note about the HUGE infertility plot line: I didn’t do any research before writing this, but it seems to me that the author must have some sort of experience with infertility, firsthand or not. As someone with a personal history I appreciated it and think she handled it accurately, but I’m curious as to if that part of the story would interest anyone who hasn’t struggled to have children herself.
It was an enjoyable, fast read, and it got me thinking – what if I couldn’t remember the last ten years of my life? What would my 20-year-old self think about who I am today? How can I ensure that I’m as happy ten years from now as I am today? Because if Alice’s situation is true to life at all (and I think it is, to an extent) it’s obvious that everyday life can muddle and complicate relationships until what’s really important gets lost.
Read more about this book and join the discussion over at the BlogHer book club.
Disclosure: I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are my own.