Novel Shows Complexity of Relationships

Though provoking novel, ID-100138425, Michal Marcol via freedigitalphotosdotnet

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, in between wonderful family moments, I had a chance to catch up on my reading.

I deliberately tried to pick something ‘light-ish’ and chose What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. The title sounded whimsical, I did not read any reviews, and I like the author. It turned out to be the story of a marriage in the middle of a divorce – a subject matter that would not have been my intentional choice for a divorce lawyer on a holiday. It was, however, a great choice for an attorney who is pro-marriage.

In the book, the heroine has suffered a concussion and, as a result, could not remember the last ten years of her life and specifically why she was getting a divorce. Her memories were of the earlier romantic years of her marriage and first pregnancy. By the time she suffered the concussion, she actually had three children, none of whom she could recall.

I won’t spoil the ending, but the book is about viewing your relationship through a different prism. What the book stands for, somewhat uniquely in current fiction, is the value of the history and tapestry of a couple whose marriage may or may not be destined to last.

Ironically, the holidays are often a time when we are secretly re-evaluating the choices we have made in a spouse. It’s easy to imagine a fresh start with someone else making you ‘happier.’ In fact, that is what many couples will decide to do come January, and for them it will be the right choice.

For anyone on the cusp of a divorce decision, What Alice Forgot is a good reminder of the gains and losses that are at play in any relationship. Sometimes all we need to be reminded of is the love we have forgotten. Some hurts are unforgivable and some differences are irreconcilable, but taking the time to be sure before leaving is never a mistake.

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol via


About Gemma Allen

Gemma Allen is a partner in Ladden & Allen, Chartered, and has practiced family law for most of her career. Ms. Allen has written more than 50 articles and lectured on topics that include divorce, child support, maintenance, mediation, cohabitation, women and money, and reconciliation. She co-authored The New Love Deal: Everything You Must Know Before Marrying, Moving In, or Moving On! and helps you navigate modern relationships in “Relationship Gems.”