You know how sometimes the Universe delivers you something you didn’t even know you needed? Like a tear-jerking movie when you need a good sob? Or vomit in your hair when you need a nice long soak in a hot bath? Or a song on the radio you used to sing in the car with your brother on the way home from school when you’re feeling homesick?
Or the perfect book.
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 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 love is ineffable. It deserves its own word.
In What Alice Forgot, the story opens with our protagonist, Alice, having just flown off a bike at her spinning class, banging her head in the process. When she wakes, she has no recollection of the past 10 years. She believes herself to be newly pregnant at the age of 29 rather than on the eve of her 40th birthday with three kids and a divorce in the works. The bulk of the book is Alice’s struggle to reconcile who see has become with who she was. Not surprisingly, I found the subject matter terribly applicable as I recently celebrated a birthday with a 9 in it.
There just wasn’t enough time in 2008. It had become a limited resource. Back in 1998, the days were so much more spacious. When she woke up in the morning, the day rolled out in front of her like a long hallway for her to meander down, free to linger over the best parts. Days were so stingy now. Mean slivers of time.
Liane Moriarty is my new hero. Her writing feels effortless and confidential, making me want to lean into her shoulder as she spins her tale in what I imagine would be a soft, melodic voice.
Her capacity for empathy is inspiring, treating all of her characters with a kindness and respect that leads me to believe it’s one of her strongest personality traits in real life. I’m going to carefully not research that supposition, either. Because believing it to be so made the story even more engaging, added even more authenticity to these fictional beings that inspired me to fall in love with them all.
Early kisses were so much more erotic than early sex. Sex at the beginning of a relationship was fumbly and silly and vaguely gynecological, like a doctor’s appointment. But fully clothed kisses, before you’d slept together, were delicious and mysterious.
It’s a great read if your head is hungry. Or your birthday has a nine in it. The whole time I was reading, I wanted to write a letter to myself 10 years ago. I think I just might. Maybe you should, too? How about when I post mine in the next couple of weeks, maybe I can post some of yours, too? Or include a link? Email me! And tell me true – what would you say to you?