Imagine if suddenly a decade of your memory was gone. That’s just what happens in “What Alice Forgot,” a novel by Liane Moriarty. Alice takes a bump to the head after a fall from her bike in spinning class and suddenly doesn’t remember her children, her current friends, or that the love of her life has become her ex-husband. Last recollection, Alice was pregnant with their first born, happy in a marriage sure to last, and fixing up a money pit of a house. Losing the last ten years of her memory causes her to see those closest to her, especially her ex-husband, children, and herself in a very different light. She finds herself acting as the “old” Alice (how she behaved ten years ago), while living life as the “new” (current) Alice. This interesting and terrifyingly plausible situation causes the reader to seriously consider one’s own life and ponder “what if….”
Ten years may seem like a short period of time for persons lucky enough to live a full lifespan, but so much can happen that shapes who we are and what we become. Thinking of all the life I have lived in the past ten years gives me pause. How would I react if suddenly I couldn’t remember
- getting married,
- having children,
- earning and using a veterinary degree,
- buying my first home,
- living in 4 states in 4 years,
- learning of the death of my in-laws,
- experiencing my husband’s confirmation,
I think of all the people I wouldn’t remember meeting. All the moments I wouldn’t be able to conjure. I would lose the ability to reminisce about the sweet smell of my newborns, the warmth of my husband’s flannelled hugs, and the sound of my patient’s heartbeat on the monitor right before surgery. No memories of past Christmases or lost loved ones. Just gone.
Perhaps even more shocking to me is that so much of what shapes me and my life happened longer than ten years ago. I would be able to remember my father’s passing and 9-11. Memories of leaving home, working overseas, and giving up my Fortune 500 job to pursue veterinary medicine would still be there. A lot has happened in my life in the past ten years. A lot happened before those ten years. I’m grateful for it all and the chance to make memories for the next ten years.
What moments have defined your last decade?
“What Alice Forgot” is this month’s book selection for Mom’s Book Nook, a virtual, online book club hosted by Sunny Day Family and Playground Parkbench. Each month, on the first Monday of the month, they announce the book selection for the month. On the last Monday of the month at 9PM ET, they host a Facebook event to discuss that month’s title. The book club “meeting” for “What Alice Forgot” is scheduled for Monday (1/29/2016) at 9 PM, EST. Click here to join. Hope to see you there!