April 2013: What Alice Forgot
Alice still doesn’t have her memory back. I’m not surprised. I am thoroughly enjoying the journey to piece her life back together and don’t think the book would be as successful if she already regained her memories. Alice’s first big step is confronting how she’s physically changed over the past decade. She’s more fit, couture haircut, pesky wrinkles—a “grown-up skinny mother of three in the middle of a nasty custard-throwing divorce.” Alice tries to imagine her “real self”—the 28-year-old she remembers. But, as she says, that woman is long gone. Looking at old photos can instill these same emotions (though typically I feel like I look much better in the younger years!), but I can’t imagine what it would be like to look in a mirror at someone you didn’t recognize. It was fascinating that she could replicate her daily beauty routine with such ease. I’ve never known anyone with amnesia so I’m not sure how accurate that would be. Is it really just like riding a bike?
It was effective to hear what Nick and Alice’s relationship was like through Elisabeth’s and Frannie’s eyes. It probably wasn’t as dreamy as she describes (great couple still have blowups about silly things like not dropping off the dry-cleaning or not closing cabinets—my personal pet peeve), but it showed how in love the two of them had been. I wonder what drove them apart: an affair as Alice suspects, or just a decade of grown-up stress?
Elisabeth’s character is personally very interesting to me. I had a difficult time getting pregnant with my first, and I know how isolating and rage-inducing infertility can feel. You don’t want to be that person who can’t enjoy a kid’s birthday party, but somehow it’s impossible to not be. I can now understand better why Alice and Elisabeth grew apart. It can be very difficult to connect when you are at different stages in your life. What do you think: Was it unavoidable that the sisters had drifted because of Elisabeth’s infertility and Alice’s role as supermom? Or is it that they’ve just changed as people?
So much is happening: We meet Dominick, Alice’s boyfriend? We are starting to learn more about this mysterious Gina character. It seems that she may be the key to what happened to Alice’s life over the past decade. But she’s now dead? Do you think Nick had an affair with her? It’s all a little surreal.
I’m anxious for Alice to finally meet her kids. She has seen their home, their rooms, their photos, but she hasn’t actually met them. Do you think it will be like the beauty routine—they will go on as if everything is the same? What would you think if you were meeting your children for the first time?
That should all be revealed in the next installment, up to chapter 25.