What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of What Alice Forgot

Plot Summary Part 1

Alice, the main character, is peddling on an exercise bike when suddenly she falls off and hits her head. How does someone fall off an exercise bike and hit their head? I don't think this is really possible. This is only the first of many improbable events in this story.

An ambulance is called and Alice is taken to a hospital. She quickly realizes that she has lost ten years of her life. She thinks it is 1998 when it is really 2008. We are supposed to believe that a concussion caused her amnesia.

Now, let's stop for a moment and talk about this, because this is the basic premise of the story. Yes, concussions can cause amnesia in rare instances. They can cause one to lose a specific memory or a random assortment of memories. In no circumstance can a concussion cause one to lose, chronologically, the memories from the past set number of years. Memories are not stored that way; there are not layers of the brain where 1998, 1999, and 2000 are stored separately. The only plausible memory loss is one where random memories are lost.

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That's not what happened here. The author wants us to believe that Alice lost the past ten years, exactly that, no more, and no less, as if she were a computer hard drive which had exact files erased. It's simply not credible, and it destroys the entire premise of the story.

Anyway, Alice, only having memories from ten years earlier, remembers herself being married to Nick, and being pregnant. But she finds herself no longer pregnant and in the process of divorcing Nick.

This confuses Alice. She plays doctor with herself and examines her body. She admires the soft pubic hair above her v_gina. But then she saw a scar. The doctor told her that was a scar from when they cut a baby out of her which was too large to squeeze out of her tight vaj. Alice realizes she has already been pregnant.

Alice discovers she has three children named Olivia, Tom, and Madison. Madison, she discovers, is a girl, even though she has an androgynous name. Don't worry about remembering Olivia and Tom, all they do is whine and pee in their pants.

Alice discovers she is separated from her husband Nick, and can't understand why.

Elizabeth, Alice's older sister shows up, and tells her other news, that Nick's Dad, Roger, has married Alice's mother. Alice is surprised to learn this.

Alice checks out her breasts. They are sagging. She misses her "nice, round, cheerful, bobbing-about breasts". This is the best line of the story!

To fill out the book far more than needed, we are treated to dozens of long, long, long letters Elizabeth writes to her psychiatrist.

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