The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

dorianWhat would you give for perfection? Would you sacrifice your money? Your possessions? Happiness? How about your soul? Think twice, because perfection is impossible. What may outwardly appear as perfection is never so. Underneath a pristine surface will always be found some form of corruption or imperfection.

Oscar Wilde explores the idea of perfection, beauty, sin, hedonism, accountability, and aestheticism through The Picture of Dorian Gray. When the story was first published in an 1890 edition of Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, it received a lot of backlash due to content deemed “objectionable”, ““vulgar”, “unclean”, “poisonous”, and “discreditable” by the British press. However, the version published in the magazine had already been heavily edited by a Lippincott editor without Oscar Wilde’s knowledge, and was further edited before its publication in book form in 1891. The first unedited version was not published until 120 years after the story’s initial publication. Why was Dorian Gray so heavily edited? Due to the excesses, corruption, and indulgences held within its pages. The beauty of the novel lies within this very decadence.

The story centers around three main characters: Basil Hallward, Lord Henry Wotton, and Dorian Gray. Basil Hallward is an artist who develops an infatuation for Dorian Gray, a young member of London high society who often sits for his paintings. Lord Henry is an established society member and friend of Basil’s whose entire moral code is based on his conviction that “the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it”. When he asks Basil about Dorian, the artist responds that he “knew that [he] had come face to face with some one whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if [he] allowed it to do so, it would absorb [his] whole nature, [his] whole soul, [his] very art itself”, and passionately states that Dorian “is all [his] art to [him] now”. Lord Henry asks to meet Dorian, but Basil resists, insisting that Lord Henry is sure to corrupt him with his hedonistic values.

Despite Basil’s objections, Lord Henry and Dorian meet. That very afternoon, Basil finishes a portrait of Dorian that he believes to be the most beautiful work he has ever created. While admiring it, Dorian states that he wishes his physical self could remain as lovely and untouched by sin as the portrait, while the painting ages and corrupts. Dorian’s wish is granted, and he subsequently falls into a life of sin and opulence. As the years pass, his obsessions over the painting tear him apart from the inside, while his appearance remains spotless.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, of course, carries all the trademark wit and mastery of Oscar Wilde. There is an epigram on practically every page (a notable one is “we can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely. All art is quite useless”), and the dialogue is clever, thought-provoking, and at times humorous. Every word in the novel is deliberate, and Wilde’s prose is lyrical and absolutely beautiful. The Picture of Dorian Gray reaches into the (deep and dark) depths of the human soul and examines what is to be found there while asking a question – what does it take for man to become monster?

Reviewed by Tara F ’18

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Invisible Man By Ralph Ellison

invIt is a universal experience for humans to battle with the solidification of our identities and the experience of self-exploration varies among each individual. For the main character of Ralph Ellison’s novel ​Invisible Man​, the struggle to define his identity is his greatest challenge.

From his education-driven life in the South, to the hustle and bustle of Harlem, the protagonist recounts the difficulties of self-discovery and establishing his purpose in life. Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of Ellison’s novel is that the protagonist’s name is never revealed to the reader. One’s name is arguably the most notable factor of their identity and it is given to you when you first enter this world in order to establish your singularity and character. Not only does the main character feel as though he is invisible, but Ellison’s decision to emit his name from the entirety of the novel relates enhances this belief and allows the main character’s struggle to define his identity to become a firsthand experience for the reader.

We become very familiar with the main character’s interests and qualities, yet despite this familiarity, we never learn his name which causes him to remain slightly foreign to us. One of the most renowned moments of Invisible Man​ is Ellison’s vivid description of the infamous “Battle Royale” which reduced young black men to animals. The main character and the other participants in the Battle Royale were forced to brutalize each other for the enjoyment of wealthy, white men. This moment displayed how the dehumanization of black men in this time period were so easily dehumanized and taken advantage of. ​Invisible Man​ is a difficult read as it confronts various instances of

racism and the difficulties surrounding defining one’s identity. Although it is a challenging read, the detail and descriptiveness are profound and overall I recommend this novel.

Reviewed by Sharde J ’18

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

redRed Sparrow is novel published in 2013 by Jason Matthews, a retired CIA field operative who has experience collecting national security intelligence and recruiting new officers. He conducted operations against Russia, and operated in areas of East Asia, East Europe, the Caribbean, and Middle East.

The plot begins with Nathaniel Nash, a CIA officer who is on a mission to secretly exchange information with MARBLE, a seasoned Russian officer who aids the CIA with top-secret information about the leader’s plans. However, Nathaniel and his ally experience a near-encounter with Russian surveillance. Fortunately, both men are able to escape and successfully complete the mission. Nevertheless, Nathaniel receives a harsh scolding from his director and loses his job and opportunity to gain a higher position in the CIA. Although this outcome may seem severe for a one small mishap, the author reveals how Nathaniel has been dealing with the cut-throat mentality of the CIA for a long time. This explains why anger spills over in Nathaniel’s mind. He explodes into rage and dares to yell back at his director.

From the outside, Dominika Egorova seems to be an ordinary, simple, and beautiful young woman. However, the novel reveals her painful experiences with the Russian government, which provokes her to prove her worth to the Americans in order to be able to work under their care. Dominika never yearned to be a spy for any government. However, when her promising ballet career ends in an accident and father dies in a stroke, she takes up on an opportunity to work for the SVR, an Russian Intelligence Service.

On her first mission, Dominika is put to work with Egrov who orders her to seduce to possibly gain any useful information against an enemy of Putin. While she performs her duty, an unexpected assassin murders Dominika’s target. This puts her in danger due Egrov’s expectation that she could possibly unleash this happening that would ruin his ambitions to become an elected official. As a solution, Dominika suggests her admission to the SVR academy, where she could officially become a qualified spy under an oath. However, her uncle sends her off to Sparrow School, where women are taught to use their physical attributes to seduce and gain secret information about their enemies. Once again, Dominika feels belittled because of her beauty and gender and because she is not able to lead a formal mission using her intelligence, but instead is forced to serve as a pawn under the Russian government. She responds to her uncle with a short, yet blunt reply.

“You’re sending me to whore school.”

When Dominika is sent to Helsinki to uncover who who has been passing information to an American officer, Nathanial Nash, she unexpectedly falls in love with him. The author’s way of portraying the relationship between the two truly captures how love can still blossom in difficult times and induces a sense of hopefulness in the audience.

“Dominika,” he said, and the rushing in his ears started, the old danger signal.

“Will you break your rules again?” she asked. She saw his purple lust, it lit up the darkened room.

“I want you to violate your rules … with me… not your agent, me” said Dominika.”

Despite disapproval from both sides of their intelligence comunities, the relationship blossoms. However, after Dominika’s mission fails and she is suspected of helping the Americans, she taken away, jailed, and tortured. Without a confession, the Russian director decides to reinstate her as a spy and this leads her to work with General Korchnoi.

The audience is taught that General Korchnoi is actually MARBLE, the double spy who has been working with Nathaniel from earlier in the novel. He possesses an ambitious plan to train Dominika to become the next “MARBLE,” and persuades her to turn him in as a traitor. If Dominika follows his plan, she would be able to gain enough trust from the SVR in order to become the next general. Eventually, Dominika discovers Korchnoi’s plan and feels extreme betrayal towards the Americans. She claims that she will not go back to Russia, rejecting SVR’s orders. The SVR makes a deal with her, promising her the safety of Korchnoi if she returned to Russia. However, just when the swap is about to become finalized, Korchnoi is murdered by a Russian assassin. Betrayed by both countries, the audience is left to wonder whether she will go back to the Americans or the Russians.

The heart-wrenching plot of Red Sparrow, overflowing with intricate details of the inner workings of the CIA and restless portrayal of a spy’s mindset is a must read. The author’s background truly adds a sense of realism to the novel, which sets it apart from other spy novels I’ve read that sometimes seems too far-fetched and or unfathomable. After much analysis, I feel that this novel encompasses a significant literary thread that I personally relate to. Throughout her journey, Dominika is constantly refused by men to serve as an intelligence officer and instead forced to use her physical attributes to her advantage. The constant feelings of rejection and humility are experiences that I have dealt with as a woman living in a patriarchal society. Before attending an all-girls school, I struggled more than my male counterparts to secure certain competitive positions, because of the public’s mindset that boys are generally more intelligent and reliable when working with “big matters,” such as representing the school. This captivating and relatable thread is another reason why I feel this novel is not simply an ordinary spy novel.

Other works by Jason Matthews include Palace of Treason, The Kremlin’s Candidate, and Cipher’s Sisters. Novels that deal with similar themes as portrayed in this novel include A Divided Spy by Charles Cumming, I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, and The Prodigal Spy by Joseph Kanon.

Reviewed by Susie Y ’18

 

 

Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates

fox“For FOXFIRE was a true outlaw gang, yes…

But FOXFIRE was a true blood-sisterhood, our bond forged in loyalty, fidelity, trust, love.

Joyce Carol Oates’ novel Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang, told from the perspective of Madeleine Faith Wirtz, looking back on her days as part of a girl gang in upstate New York: FOXFIRE. As a teenager, she was FOXFIRE’s chronicler, recording their actions for posterity; “Thus distortions and misunderstandings and outright lies could be refuted.” As an older woman, she looks back through the record and assembles the pieces into these FOXFIRE CONFESSIONS.

The novel burns with the passion of teenage girls banding together to seek power in a society that is determined to disempower them and to seek revenge against men who treat them with violence and hatred. FOXFIRE demands freedom in the face of sexism, poverty, abuse. The girls of FOXFIRE throw themselves into a female power fantasy, demanding respect and fear when none is given. Their actions are criminal and their violence has consequences, yet they share a bond and earn power that one can’t help but desire. The language of the novel mirrors the gang itself, full of energy and passion, careening towards a yet unseen end. Sentences run through entire paragraphs with little punctuation hindering their speed.

Names change as a person’s image changes: Legs visits a rich girl’s house in the guise of reformed, wide-eyed girl “Margaret,” Maddy lies in wait as “Killer” for a man with money to try his luck with her, as she becomes an innocent girl who gives her name as “Marg’ret.”

The center of FOXFIRE: a girl named Legs, sometimes Margaret Ann Sadovsky, andogynous in appearance yet burning with feminine fury. Legs brings FOXFIRE together and leads them with charisma and reckless rage. Boys fear her and girls vy for her attention, especially Maddy, who is for the most part closest to Legs and when she isn’t, becomes jealous of whoever is. Maddy describes Legs with awe: “I’d watched her striding across the asphalt school yard, I’d seen her running in the street, solitary in running, she was happiest running, in my memory once a few years before leaping over a dangerous pit of an opening in a sidewalk on Fairfax where coal thundered down a sliding chute from a truck, and the delivery man shook his fist at her, and swore at her, and Legs ran on not hearing, you wouldn’t have known except for the wild bushy ashy hair that she was a girl thus especially forbidden to take such risks.”

Foxfire is a book that tells about crime and violence, yet it holds a mirror up to the reader and asks, what would you do? When you are faced with crushing disadvantage, do you lash out? Do you find someone else to put down, and say, at least I’m not one of them? Or do you live in the boundaries of what is acceptable? The characters are relatable even in the midst of blood and rage, and they demand to be heard. Even when it’s over, you still feel the heat of FOXFIRE, after all, FOXFIRE BURNS & BURNS.

Reviewed by Kayleen M ’18

The Way I Used to Be

wayIn the United States, every 8 minutes, a child is sexually assaulted. This reality may be difficult to acknowledge and take action upon through simple statistics. However, through
personal narratives, like Eden’s story in The Way I Used to Be, I could much better comprehend the extent to which sexual assaults can shape an individual perception of life. Thus, this novel by Amber Smith furthered my ambition to advocate against sexual assault on school campuses.
The novel unravels from Eden’s perspective. Eden, called by Eddy by her friends, is a
typical freshman in highschool. She is a competitive member of her high school band, has a best friend named Mara, and lives with her family in a ordinary neighborhood. However, something is different about Eden as she attempts to proceed through her freshman year. On a Saturday night, Eden is raped by her brother’s best friend in her own room. Her raw afterthoughts are portrayed as, “…Why it didn’t register that something was wrong- somercilessly wrong- when I felt the mattress shift under his weight. Why I didn’t scream when I opened my eyes and saw him crawling between my sheets.” Like most other victims, Eden blames and even shames herself for being assaulted. To make matters worse, she does not tell a soul and goes about her life like nothing ever happened.
Unfortunately, the events of Saturday night takes a immense toll on Eden’s outlook on
life. Although no one knows besides her, Eden’s disposition is raginingly driven by anger and silent cry for help. Suffering from constant panic attacks and conflicts with her best friend Mara, she pushes her family and friends away, blows off their expectations, and begins to look for ways to completely distance herself from the innocent girl that she used to be. Her first opportunity comes forth in the form of a popular upperclassman from one of her classes. Eden’s response after their date truly encompasses her new ambition. “I sigh loudly… I leave without another word. I know he’s watching me as I walk toward my house. I make sure I don’t turn around until I hear the engine fade into the distance surrounding me.” From this scene, it is clear that Eden cares for Josh, but she is unable to open up to Josh due to the mental and emotional aftermath of her assault. Eden’s unusual ways of interaction towards others not only reflect her
struggle to adjust to a normal lifestyle, but also how difficult it may be for victims like her to accept and seek for help.

Unable to come forth to her family and friends, Eden’s anxiety and self-harm becomes a
norm in her everyday life. Her presence becomes common in the party-scenes and her
community labels her as a “slut” for her unprecedented behavior. Instead of fighting back, Eden assumes her label and slowly lets the clashing persona seep into her head. At a college party, she sleeps with a guy that she just met and has no true feelings for. She thinks to herself, “Josh. I see his smile. Feel his sweetness. His arms around me… As soon as my consciousness kicks in, he’s gone. But he was there just long enough and just clear enough to jolt me, to shock my system with a surge of fresh heartache.” Again, Eden’s inner thoughts confirms her one and only affection for Josh, but also her incapability to express herself.
The Way I Used to Be is a work of fiction. However, this does not discredit its value in
the realm of sexual assault advocacy, as it deals with true matters that can be related to by many survivors of sexual assault. Eden’s experience realistically depicts the harsh truth. There are many sexually assaulted victims that are suffering due to the mental, emotional, and physical aftermath of the assault. Furthermore, this time-dependent matter worsens as the victim is often denied of trust and rapid response. Unlike many others, Eden’s story ends on a fulfilling resolution. Her brother’s best friend is investigated and eventually put away in jail.

However, note that this resolution is not the usual outcome of many victims.
This novel is not a difficult read. However, I do believe that this functions as a tool for the
author to reach a more extensive range of audiences, which is a significant aspect of a book dealing with critical matters such as sexual assault. Amber Smith is an prominent advocate for more awareness of gendered violence, which includes sexual assault and LGBTQ equality. When she is not writing or reading, she focuses on making visual arts and working as an art consultant in her current home in North Carolina. Other works by Smith includes, The Last to Let Go and Our Stories, Our Voices. Other novels that explore similar topics such as this novel includes, We Believe You by Andrea E. Pino and Annie E. Clark and Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott.

Reviewed by Susie Y. ’18

Orlando: a Biography by Virginia Woolf

orlanTimes change, people change, societies change, yet some things stay more or less the same. This is the theme that runs throughout Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: a Biography. The novel is narrated by a biographer recounting the life story of a fictional English noble, beginning with his boyhood in Elizabethan times and ending, with the title character having undergone many adventures and a change of gender along the way, with her return home decades later. Along the way, Orlando encounters interesting characters, foreign lands, famous poets, and the passage of time from one era to the next.

Virginia Woolf’s prose is very beautiful, feeling at times more like poetry. Her descriptions of landscapes and settings are especially vivid: for example, she writes of London: “As the sun sank, all the domes, spires, turrets, and pinnacles of London rose in inky blackness against the furious red sunset clouds”. Her sentences often stretch half the length of the page and contain layers of both imagery and clauses, which may be frustrating to follow for a reader expecting to read prose. This is partly due to Woolf’s style, partly due to Orlando’s own dramatic nature. The biographer occasionally intersperses slightly overwrought language with reminders that it is the result of the subject’s perspective: “Now the Abbey windows were lit up and burnt like a heavenly, many-coloured shield (in Orlando’s fancy); now all the west seemed a golden window with troops of angels (in Orlando’s fancy again) passing up and down the heavenly stairs perpetually”. However, once you dive in and accept this strange slightly stilted style, you appreciate the spiraling but intricate writing as part of the book, and as an insight into Orlando’s mind.

“Diving in” applies not only to the language itself, but to the story as well. Within the narrative, concepts like time seem extremely fluid, as the story begins during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and ends in the year 1928, yet the biographer gives Orlando’s age as thirty-five by the end of the book. Some characters in Orlando’s life seem to age (or not age) in a similar fashion, while others slip out of the novel as the years move along, with the biographer never quite explaining the mechanics of this world and why this is. This ambiguity adds to the dreamy feel of the novel, but is slightly frustrating at times. This fluidity can become more of a melt, as important characters and events are introduced only in passing (for example, Orlando’s engagement is covered in less than ten words), and plot takes a secondary role to Orlando’s ruminations and meditations on life, love, and time. However, once the reader accepts this unusual world and unusual protagonist, it is a captivating read. Orlando is a strange combination of adventure and poetry, but overall a book of beautiful language and a thought-provoking inner monologue.

Reviewed by Caroline G. ’18

 

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

butterHave you ever looked at great heroes or revolutionaries, and wondered where their bravery came from? “In the Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez answers that question by following the lives of four sisters, codenamed “The Butterflies”, who were involved in the resistance against the dictator of the Dominican Republic in the 1950s.

In middle school I read “Before We Were Free,” which is another of Alvarez’s novels. It describes the later stages of the resistance against the dictator Trujillo through the perspective of a young girl. When I picked up “In the Time of the Butterflies,”  I was eager to read more of Alvarez’s captivating and intimate writing technique.

“In the Time of the Butterflies” shows the lives of the Mirabal sisters, commonly known as, The Butterflies, starting in their childhoods, and continuing through their time at Catholic boarding school, their relationships and eventual marriages, and their experiences raising children. Gradually, each sister except Dedé joins the resistance. Eventually, they become such a threat to Trujillo’s regime that he orders them to be killed in a staged car crash. Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa die, but Dedé was not in the car nor involved directly in the resistance, so she lives with responsibility of telling her sisters’ stories. Whether that responsibility is a burden or a gift, however, is unclear. Near the beginning of the book, Dedé recounts how visitors to her museum “inevitably ask in one form or another, why are you the one who survived?”

The novel starts with Dedé’s quiet day in 1994 getting interrupted by a visit from an American woman. Dedé gives the woman a tour of her childhood home, shows her pictures of the sisters as children, and sits down to talk with the woman. From there, Dedé recounts her past and present experiences, and the novel transitions between the point of view of each of the sisters in the 1940s-50s and Dedé’s point of view in 1994. Patria is the oldest sister, who is deeply religious and caring. Dedé is the second oldest, and she is organized and practical. Next is Minerva, who is strongly opinionated and outspoken. Maria Teresa is the youngest by far, and is originally quite focused on appearances and romance, but grows up to use her emotional intelligence to connect with others in a more meaningful way.

The author uses first person point of view, switching between sisters, to help the reader connect better to each sister. When I heard every little thought and feeling each sister had, I was better able to connect with them individually. They did not seem like unreachable symbols of bravery, but rather real women who were not so different than me. For example, when Minerva is about 12 years old, her friend Sinta tells the story of her father and brother being killed by Trujillo. Minera narrates, “I started crying, but pinched my arms to stop. I had to be brave for Sinta.” Here, Minerva is making a choice to be brave. It is a small choice that anyone could make, but it is one of many small choices that lead her to be a revolutionary.

Alvarez’s exploration of the humanity of heroines raises another question: How should these women’s stories be told? In one of the scenes from Dedé’s point of view, Minerva’s daughter states, “I’m my own person. I’m tired of being the daughter of a legend.” In another scene, Dedé ponders how she is unable to live her own life due to her sisters’ fame. But Dedé also realizes the importance of remembering, saying, “I’m not stuck in the past, I’ve just bought it with me into the present. And the problem is not enough of us have done that.”

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I think other members of the Emma community would be interested as well. So if you want to explore big questions of how people become legends, and how we should remember and tell their stories, while getting to know four remarkable women, and learning about an important period in the history of the Dominican Republic, you should read “In the Time of the Butterflies.”

Reviewed by Katie F. ’18

 

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

story Continue the story of Elena and Lila in Elena Ferrante’s, The Story of a New Name. Follow the story and see how new hardships affect their friendship and lives. Watch as family businesses, school, abusive cheating husbands, jobs, money, and so much more work to tear these two friends apart.

As the two friends’ paths separate they lose their close connection but always seem to come back to each other. Lina is now married to a rich abusive husband and lives an unhappy life until she meets Nino, whom Elena loves. Lina and Nino spend the summer together without Lina’s husband finding out who unbeknownst to everyone else is also cheating on Lina with another girl from their town. Lina finishes her schooling, leaves everything known to her to pursue her academics in college, on a full scholarship. She disapproves of Lina and is saddened by Nino’s fondness for her best friend so she cuts ties with both of them.

In college, Elena feels very out of place and felt that she, “would always be afraid: afraid of saying the wrong thing, of using an exaggerated tone, of dressing unsuitably, of revealing petty feelings, of not having interesting thoughts.” As someone coming from a very different background then everyone at her college she struggles to be accepted. She hides her accent and tries to seem more than she feels she is. She chooses to stay quiet in order not to accidentally say something that she thinks people would not approve of.

Elena Ferrante keeps readers engaged with her way with words that really make the reader think. By using issues that the reader can connect with when she conveys ideas that as normal people growing up can and may experience. Through Elena (the character), Ferrante teaches readers life lessons–some good and some not so good. In the story Elena struggles with being accepted but ultimately says, “I am what I am and I have to accept myself; I was born like this, in this city, with this dialect, without money; I will give what I can give, I will take what I can take, I will endure what has to be endured.” This teaches people how to believe in what and who they are and to always accept themselves because you can’t change the past.

Reviewed by Sarah C. ’18

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

boatUnfortunately, not very known in the English speaking countries, “Three Men in a Boat” presents itself as a comedic and somewhat ironic diary of the main character (the author), who describes the trip his friends and he decide to take due to their “poor health”. Written in 1889, the book portrays the views of the time that the reader gets to see through the eyes of the characters, and shows the history and geography of the places where the characters stop on their way to Oxford. Initially, the book was intended as a guide to travelers, but the fictional part helped create the novel many praise today.

“Three Men in a Boat” takes us through the whole trip with great detail and the comical parts make the read easy and entertaining. “I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with all the sensations that I have ever felt” J. worries. The irony and almost ridiculousness of his character is what mainly makes up for the comedy in the book. We see it through his memories that are brought up by the certain events that happen during the trip, such as seeing women on a boat ride or surviving the first rain under the tent on the boat, through his emotions and long conversations with his friends. While the other two characters, George and Harris, are always present, we do not get to learn their side of the story, and generally only see them through the eyes of J. This is how we find out who the main character likes, and who he is not very fond of. He presents each person very specifically, this way pointing out the flaws and certain traits in his friends that he does not like.

“Three Men in a Boat” is a comedic novel that will allow you to travel up Thames with J., George, Harris and Montmorency, who will brighten up the trip with their funny stories, share their experiences and live through the adventure together.

Reviewed by Yulia ’18

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

aliceAfter a head injury at the gym, Alice wakes up missing ten years of her memory only remembering that she is twenty- nine, pregnant and madly in love with her husband, Nick. Remembering nothing from her current life, including her divorce and three children, Alice embarks on a journey to discover how this all happened and how to fix it. She discovers she is no longer the shy twenty-nine-year-old she used be. She is now a type- A, social and spin obsessed mother. As Alice recovers, she learns that her sister Elisabeth is married, and her mother married Nick’s father and for some reason she hates the man she was once madly in love with, Nick. Alice soon begins to notice that everyone around her is hiding something about a woman named Gina, and surrounded by this foreign lifestyle Alice must make sense of it.

While reading this book, I was able to understand and relate to Alice’s sister Elisabeth the most because she was such a good foil character for Alice. Apart from Alice’s injury, Elisabeth suffers from many of her own personal issues. Throughout the novel, she is asked to do homework by her therapist, Dr. Hodges, where she writes passages about how she is feeling and issues she is currently facing. These passages gave me such insight into Elizabeth’s relationship to the people around her, including the relationship she had with Alice. Liane Moriarty is also able to make readers reconsider their lives like Alice did in the book. Alice’s story is motivational and encourages readers to think about the decisions they have made and the impact that they have had on their lives today. Ultimately Alice’s injury is more of blessing than a curse because she is able to reconnect with what is important in her life.

Liane Moriarty (born November 15, 1966) is an Australian novelist who currently has six published books and her most popular and New York Times Bestseller novel Big Little Lies was recently made into a CBS mini-series that won several Emmys. I liked What Alice Forgot much more than Liane Moriarty’s other books because I felt the ending was less revealed throughout the story and more of a surprise at the end which I very much enjoyed. I recommend many other books by Moriarty, such as Big Little Lies.

 Reviewed by Yasmine A. ’18