What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Published: May 2010Goodreads badge
Publisher:
PanMacmillan Australia
Pages: 476
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
★   ★  – 2 Stars

Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child.

So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes.

Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over.

I could not get excited by this book. I couldn’t understand why Alice couldn’t just simply state things outright and ask people what she wanted to know. I get she may have been in shock and what have you, and her personality wasn’t the tough assertive one she develops, but she lets people just talk at her, or ignore her. It annoyed me so much she didn’t just shout out ‘what part of I remember nothing do you not understand?’ Even when she doesn’t tell anyone she never asks questions, just wonders what it all means, what she has to do. Even when she does outright ask who someone is or what is happening, people don’t just answer her. I can’t understand, why wouldn’t you tell someone the full details? It would make them look like less of a fool and not annoy me as much I assure you.

The whole premise is Alice is missing ten years of her life, and in that time she loses friends, makes new ones, and becomes a person with a new personality. It’s not good just telling her that she’ll understand when she gets her memory back, or that she won’t feel as confused, it doesn’t help her in the moment. Yes Moriarty is trying to create suspense, and make us realise that there is more than just memory loss at stake, but truly. It was so frustrating having to put up with so many non-answers and people somehow unable to comprehend what no memory means. Even Alice’s mother just prattles on at her, not even having a proper conversation. Ugh. Of course when we do find out even a tiny something of what happened it comes in a weird one scene rush and answers are given and it feels like a trick having this information just given to us after we’ve suffered so far unawares.

Anyway. I could complain about this book for ages and not say anything constructive. You do start to get a small hint that something isn’t as it seems around halfway through. You’ve accepted Alice is Alice, and all these characters are just being their own weird selves so you focus on the story. Moriarty draws out the suspense in that way, you are meant to hang on as Alice almost gets answers and then loses them, almost gets her memory back but fails.

The story takes place over a week or so since Alice’s accident but a lot happens in that time. You see how Alice’s family have changed and evolved, you see how personalities have shifted, friends aren’t as close anymore. I really liked Alice’s sister Elizabeth; her chapters are fun and interesting, filled with emotion and intrigue. I also didn’t mind Franny’s parts either; it was a nice change having her blog provide bits of info and a commentary on what’s going on. Having that alongside Elizabeth’s journal you get relief from Alice doing all her stuff. Those two characters make the novel worth reading in my opinion, them and perhaps Alice’s children, they were quite fun.

You can purchase What Alice Forgot via the following

QBD | Book Depository | Amazon

Wordery | Dymocks

Fishpond | Booktopia

 

Harry Potter: Final Thoughts

“All these people saying they never got their Hogwarts letter: you got the letter. You went to Hogwarts. We were all there together.
Of course it happened inside your head, but why on earth should that mean it wasn’t real?”- JK Rowling

As the month draws to an end it also marks the conclusion of my Harry Potter month. This is the fourth month long focus type things I’ve done and I have to say, each one of them as been very different. I was wondering how I was going to feel going into this, and now, at the end, I realise it’s totally different than any of them.

I’ve realised I think it is because of what Harry Potter is. The others – His Dark Materials, Shakespeare, and Winnie the Pooh – as popular as they are, and as established and huge as they are in their own right, Harry Potter is an entirely separate class. The series is nothing short of a phenomenon. It took the world by storm; it gave its readers and viewers a complicated world and a lifestyle that has infiltrated the everyday in and obvious way any more than certainly HDM and Winnie the Pooh, but even Shakespeare in a way. We know that he influenced culture in an unimaginably large way, but we don’t consciously notice it. But we notice Harry Potter. We notice all the time as people use their houses as a form of identity, as people immerse themselves in the world again and again, as it is has grown to such a grand size that it’s almost inescapable that even those who haven’t read the books have seen the movies, or vice versa. Or that they know something of the series even if they haven’t seen or watched it.

Being part of the generation that grew up with the Harry phenomena I feel incredible privilege. Never again will any new reader know of the excitement, the trepidation, or the frustration at having to wait for the next book. Of trying not to get spoilers beforehand or from anyone who read faster than you. For the decade that it took Rowling to go from Philosopher’s Stone to Deathly Hallows we became part of a club that will remember what it was like to wait. We really will be the only ones to know what it was like to have to have no idea what was going to come next, to theorise and to pine, to reread the books over and over while we waited for months and sometimes for years for the next book to come out.

I remember when I finished writing about HDM it was a completely different experience. I had returned to a world I visit so rarely that digging into the centre of the world and the characters was like revisiting an old friend, a friend who even though it’s been years it felt like no time had passed. I wasn’t sure what would happen this time around, but as I sit here, with a month of posts behind me that it is very different but also the same. I think it’s because Harry Potter never really went away. I’ve never had to step away from it, see nothing about it, read nothing about it. It was always part of my life. As I say, because we are saturated for content you never have to leave the wizarding world. And yet, as I reread the stories and renewed my love of these characters, it felt like returning to a familiar and wonderful place.

From the very first page of rereading Philosopher’s Stone it was like falling back into the world I knew so well. From that first moment at Privet Drive through each of the books I felt that warm and comforting feeling of familiarity and affection. Of course that wasn’t always expressed as I was, even now on my nth reread, still nervous and excited and worrying about what was happening, but on some level I was content and captivated by these words.

20 years has passed since JK Rowling published Philosopher’s Stone and looking at the celebrations this past month, the world certainly wasn’t going to let it go by unobserved. The wonderful thing about this whole series is the quote by McGonagall in Philosopher’s Stone as she tells Dumbledore “every child in our world will know his name”. In an art imitating life moment, no truer words have been spoken. And what makes them even greater is that it’s chapter one of the very first book. It isn’t in book two or book seven, it isn’t after it’s been published and consumed by the masses, it’s an innocent little phrase that the world decided to take literally. I love it.

While the series may be over, and the movies finished, we will forever have Harry Potter in our lives. It’s earned its place well and truly and I cannot wait to see it being celebrated for decades to come, ready to welcome new reader or to welcome the old ones with open arms. To quote the wonderful JK Rowling, “whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

The Fun Side of Harry Potter

Now that the business side has been taken care of, it’s time to share the fun stuff. For twenty years people have been reading Harry Potter, watching Harry Potter, and being inspired by Harry Potter. There are a myriad of content that is related to the boy wizard and the wizarding world. There are comics, music, and so many wonderful discussions about the series you are spoilt for choice to expand your wizarding experience.

Interviews

Harry Potter and Me

A Year in the Life

Oprah and JK Rowling

A Conversation Between JK Rowling and Steve Cloves

Music

James War
James has written Harry Potter parodies including Hey Harry Potter (from Plain White Tees’ Hey There, Delilah) and Harry Potter (Before We Say Goodbye) (a rewrite of Train’s Soul Sister)

Hank Green
Half of the YouTubers Vlogbrothers, Hank started singing on the vlog regularly back in 2007 as part of song Wednesdays. One song he wrote was about his impatience at waiting for Deathly Hallows to be published. Titled Accio Deathly Hallows it quickly went viral and every year Hank would sing another Harry Potter song to celebrate. In a freakish turn of events he predicted a lot that was in Deathly Hallows which was mind blowing to discover. I highly recommend not only his Harry Potter songs, but all of Hank’s songs, they’re awesome. You can learn all about the song on the Nerdfighteria Wiki

Harry and the Potters
Since 2002 they’ve been performing nearly 800 shows in all sorts of places and all over the world. The band consists of brothers, Joe and Paul DeGeorge and they are a wizard rock band with many awesome Harry Potter songs. They are also co-founders of the charity organisation The Harry Potter Alliance.

Comics

My Life as a Background Slytherin

Emily creates hilarious comics about being a background student of Slytherin house. She also occasionally does comics for the other houses as well. I promise you will fall in love with them, even if you aren’t a Slytherin.

floccinaucinihilipilification

This artist posts comics on Tumblr about various Harry Potter events and behind the scenes moments. It’s not the only theme they do, but the Potter comics are wonderful. Buzzfeed has collated a few as an example, but there’s also a Facebook page where the comics are posted, but Tumblr lets you sift out the Potter specific ones.

Mike Hinson

Hinson is an illustrator who works as a Social Web Artist for Buzzfeed, and has a series of comics that looks at what Harry Potter would be like if they had modern technology (even though, as we know, technology doesn’t work at Hogwarts)

Buzzfeed has selected a few other comics as well. They’ve attributed the artist so you can use that as a starting point to find more funny comics. If you have a particular favourite Harry Potter comic I haven’t listed please let me know because I can never have enough.

Fun Stuff

A Very Potter Musical

This is an incredible show. It’s a fan made production and is a parody musical based on several of the Harry Potter novels. It was first performed in 2009 and is currently available to watch online. It produced two sequels: the first entitled A Very Potter Sequel in 2010, available online, and A Very Potter Senior Year in 2014 which you can watch here.

Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise

This simple video took the internet by storm when it was released ten years ago. It is still the best video ever and it will get stuck in your head for days afterwards. Potter Puppet Pals did a number of videos which you can find here. There’s also a dedicated YouTube Channel to the delightful puppet pals.

Tumblr

The Harry Potter tags on Tumblr are all kinds of wonderful. You get fan theories, headcanons and revelations as people highlight lesser known moments and relive the best bits. There are posts that make you laugh and posts that ruin your life. There’s also the awesome fan art that’s delightful as well.

Harry Potter Wiki

I just have to say, this thing is incredible. There are pages about anything and everything. There are references to minor characters and one off lines that have sparked whole pages about them. It’s a brilliant source of all kinds of Harry Potter information, backed up by book references and real world references. It’s fantastic.

Buzzfeed Posts

Behind the Scene Photos

Incredible Things About Going to Hogwarts

Things That Should Have Been Included in the Films

Buzzfeed’s Collation of Tumblr Posts

Harry Potter Tumblr Posts…”

That Will Make You Feel Feelings

To Make You Feel Better

That Made You Rethink Everything

Guaranteed To Make You Laugh

That Are Just Magical

That Prove They Have the Funniest Fans

100 Jokes to Get You Through the Day

That Will Make You Weep

That Are the Funniest

That Fans Showed Their True Colour

Then What Happened?

Such is the greatness of Rowling’s imagined world she has even provided us with information about what happened to everyone after the series ended, even more than the epilogue. There is absolutely no room to post everything that has been revealed but the links at the end are a great starting point. I also suggest perusing Pottermore where more information can be found. I did find a great starting point; a delightful person on Tumblr compiled a list of things that happened in the wizarding world after the end of the books which I’ve included here. What’s important to note is that these were mostly written before Cursed Child which according to Rowling is to be considered canon. I myself am still undecided on that.

  • Azkaban no longer uses Dementors as guardians.
  • George Weasley married Angelina Johnson and had two children named Fred and Roxanne.
  • Harry made sure that the Wizarding world knew that Snape was a hero and on Dumbledore’s side.
  • Slytherin House became more diluted and was no longer solely pureblood; however its dark reputation lingers.
  • Harry lost the ability to speak Parseltongue.
  • Umbridge was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned for crimes against Muggleborns.
  • The Resurrection Stone is now buried in the Forbidden Forest after being pressed into the ground by a centaur’s hoof.
  • Voldemort’s curse on the DADA position at Hogwarts has been lifted.
  • Viktor Krum fell in love with a woman back home in Bulgaria.
  • The Death Eater’s Dark Marks eventually faded to look like a scar. It will no longer burn or hurt.
  • The Quibbler is back to publishing articles about the lunatic fringe and is appreciated for its unintentional humour.
  • Members of the DA still have their coins, as they are like badges of honour.
  • Neville Longbottom worked as an Auror before moving on as the Herbology professor at Hogwarts.
  • The remaining Death Eaters were killed or imprisoned in Azkaban for their crimes, with the exception of the Malfoys.
  • Luna Lovegood married the grandson of the Newt Scamander, author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
  • Firenze survived his wounds and was welcomed back into the Centaur herd.
  •  Harry will never become Headmaster of Hogwarts since an academic career just isn’t him.
  • Hagrid was still working at Hogwarts by 2017, at 88 years old.
  • Draco Malfoy really cares about his son, Scorpius Malfoy. He is growing him up to be a better person than he was.
  • Centaurs realised that pro-human leanings were not shameful.
  • Draco and Harry never became friends, but they did come to understand and appreciate each other better.
  • Hermione tells Scrimgeour that she is not planning to embark on a career in Magical Law but that’s actually where she ends up.
  • After his death, Voldemort is forced to exist in the stunted infant-like form that Harry sees in the King’s Cross-like Limbo.
  • Harry would take his family to visit Dudley’s when they were in the neighbourhood (occasions dreaded by James, Albus and Lily).
  • Aberforth is still at the Hog’s Head “playing with his goats”.
  • The number of Dementors have been greatly diminished because despair and degradation have been lessened in the world.
  • Arthur Weasley fixed Sirius’ motorbike and gave it to Harry.
  • Nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, the school for witchcraft and wizardry is led by an entirely new headmaster (“McGonagall was really getting on a bit”) as well as a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. That position is now as safe as the other teaching posts at Hogwarts, since Voldemort’s death broke the jinx that kept a Defence Against the Dark Arts professor from remaining for more than a year.
  • Hagrid never married, although he had a relationship with a giantess.
  • Kingsley Shacklebolt became the Minister of Magic after the Second Wizarding War.
  • Harry will not train to be an animagus; his “energies are going to be concentrated elsewhere and he’s not going to have time to do that.”
  • Audrey Weasley is wife of Percy Weasley, and they have two daughters, Molly and Lucy.
  • In the aftermath of the war, the Order was disbanded once and for all.
  • Luna has twin boys named Lorcan and Lysander with Rolf Scamander and apparently travels the world, looking for mad creatures.
  • Hermione advanced the rights of magical creatures and eradicated the old pro-pure-blood laws in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
  • The head of the Auror Office as of 2007 is Harry Potter.
  • Lavender Brown was attacked by Fenrir Greyback. Hermione saved her but she was already injured. What happened to her later on was never revealed.
  • Neville Longbottom’s students were impressed when he showed them his Dumbledore’s Army’s Coin.
  • Harry, Ron and Neville didn’t return to Hogwarts for their 7th year. They went straight to get training as aurors and Neville went to work as an auror before becoming a Professor.
  • Harry sometimes visits Hogwarts to give talks on DADA.
  • Hermione is James’ godmother.
  • Hermione Granger was the only member of the trio who returned to Hogwarts to complete their seventh year.
  • Ron worked with George in WWW for some time and then became an Auror.
  • Ginny became a professional Quidditch player for the Holyhead Harpies and become the senior Quidditch correspondent for the Daily Prophet.
  • After the war, Hermione found her parents in Australia and restored their memories.
  • Harry eldest son James Sirius started at Hogwarts on 1 September 2015 and is in Gryffindor
  • Harry is greying aged 35 and sports a nasty cut over his right cheekbone.
  • Fluffy was repatriated to Greece after he was released into the forest
  • Teddy Lupin became Head Boy

 

It’s quite an impressive list, and gives some great closure about what happened to everyone. The links below include a bunch of other facts that have been released post novels and films by Rowling in interviews and on Twitter. Some are a few years out of date, but interesting nonetheless. You can see this was also whilst Rowling was writing Fantastic Beasts.

Harry Potter Secrets

Harry Potter Revelations

Post-Potter Revelations

What Rowling Has Revealed

Further Things Rowling Has Revealed

14 Post Series Revelations

12 Harry Potter Reveals

23 Rowling Revelations about Harry Potter

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