Discussion (SPOILERS)- What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty


Did you like the younger Alice best? Or did you relate more to the older Alice?

What would your younger self of ten years ago think of the person you are today?

What would surprise your younger self most about the life you’re currently leading? What would disappoint you?

What would you think of your children? Are they how you imagined they would be? Are you the parent you envisioned? Why or why not?

Alice is shocked by many transformations- her gym-toned body, her clothes, her house. Are you more or less polished than you were a decade ago? And do you think there’s any deeper significance to such change?

Do you think it was realistic that Alice ended up back with Nick? Were you happy with that ending? Do you think they would have ended up together if she hadn’t lost her memory?

In order for Nick to be successful at his job, was it inevitable that he would spend less time with his family and thereby grow apart from Alice?

How did you feel about the sections written from the perspectives of Elisabeth and Frannie? Did they add to your enjoyment of the book, or would you have preferred to have it written entirely from Alice’s point of view?

Do you think it was unavoidable that Elisabeth and Alice had grown apart, because of the tension caused by Elisabeth’s infertility versus Alice’s growing family? Or do you think their rift had more to do with the kind of people both of them had become?

It’s not only Alice who changed over the last decade. Elisabeth changed, too. Do you think she would have been so accepting of the new Alice at the end if she herself didn’t get pregnant?

Out of all the characters in the book, who do you think had changed the most over the past decade and why?

The film rights to the book have been sold to Fox 2000- who do you think would be good in the lead roles?

If you were to write a letter to your future self to be opened in ten years, what would you say?


Did reading What Alice Forgot lift your spirits up or bring them down?

Does the title represent the book well? Were you surprised the book wasn’t just about Alice?

Were you aware the book was set in Australia? Does it matter where it takes place?

How did Alice change in her 30s? Were they good changes, bad, or some of both?

Elisabeth acts as a primary tour guide of Alice’s life. How important is it for at least one person to have a good handle on what’s going on with you at any given moment?

What does Frannie have in common with Elisabeth and Alice?

How has Alice’s relationship with her mom growing up affected Alice’s role as a mother?

How is contemporary motherhood portrayed?

What does this book say about the effect having children and/or trying to conceive has on a marriage?

How are children portrayed in this book?

How have Alice’s relationships changed as she has gotten older? Do you think the changes in her relationships are natural?

Nick and Alice speculate they got married too young, do you agree or disagree?

Why was Alice drawn to Gina? In what ways was Gina a good friend and in what ways was she a poor choice?

Do you find it believable that Alice could be so strongly influenced by one friend?

If you could meet Alice at age 29, what advice would you tell her?

Why do you think the author chose the ages of 29 and 39?

What does Frannie’s story add to the book? Does it feel essential to the construction of novel?

What do you think about how Elisabeth is portrayed; did you enjoy reading her “homework”?

What type of balance ends up happening between Alice at age 29 and Alice at age 39?

In Elisabeth’s last piece of homework to Dr. Hodges (pg. 443), she supposes he and his wife might be “struggling with the problem of when is the right time to give up”- she offers a complicated answer. “We should have given up years ago” but also she “would go through it all again… Yes. Absolutely. Of course I would.” What do you think of this perspective? Is it realistic?

Do you like how the book ended? Do you like the glimpse into future of characters’ lives in the epilogue?
Has reading this book changed the way you think about anything?

What can a young person learn from reading What Alice Forgot? How about an older person?


Do you think the choice of lemon meringue pie was significant? If so, what does it signify?

Toward the end of the book, we see George and Mildred in chapter 29-

   George and Mildred turned up on Friday.
   Alice found them at the back of the garage. George was lying on his side, as if he’d been kicked over. His once dignified lion’s face was now stained a moldy green, which made him look ashamed, as if he were an old man with food all over his face. Mildred was sitting in the middle of a pile of old pots. There was a huge chip out of one paw, and she looked sad and resigned. They were both filthy…
As Alice scrubbed, she wondered if George and Mildred would ever look the same again. Was it too late? Were they too scarred by the years of neglect?
   And would it be the same for her and Nick? Had each argument, each betrayal and nasty word built up into an ugly rock-hard layer covering what was once so tender and true?
   Well, if it had, they would just chip away at it until it was gone. It would be fine. Good as new! She scrubbed so vigorously at Mildred’s mane that her teeth chattered…
   Alice looked at George and Mildred, back in their old places, guarding the house. It had been an exhausting effort, cleaning them up, and then she’d had to use a wheelbarrow to get them out to the front of the house. Now she couldn’t decide if they looked quirky and fun, or grubby and tacky.

Is there a significance to George and Mildred? What about their movements? If so, what?

Why didn’t someone just fill Alice in from the very beginning rather than leave her in the dark to discover it all on her own? Do you think that was realistic?

A common criticism from negative reviews was that it was too long, that Moriarty put in a whole lot of stuff that didn’t need to be there and ended just being boring. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Do you think the stories of Alice’s sister and grandmother were necessary? Or did they come across as just trying to add pages?

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