What Alice Forgot

12/13/2011 at 12:16 PM (Books, Nostalgia) (, , , , , , )

When Alice wakes up, her first concern is about her the first baby she is to have with her husband Nick. The problem is that baby was born in 1998, Nick is in the middle of a divorce hearing with her and she has had two other children. As Alice starts to recall the events that led to her collapse and eventual memory lapse, she realises that the person she has become isn’t someone she likes very much and starts to sets things right again.

What Alice Forgot is light reading material – it’s the kind of book with which you would read a couple of chapters before leaving the rest for another day. This chick lit offering by Liane Moriarty deals with a 40-year-old protagonist called Alice Love who collapses at the gym one day and forgets the past 10 years of life. This would have been fine if it wasn’t for the fact a lot has happened to Alice in the past 10 years. The amount of drama in her life in that span of time could have made a full season of a television sitcom.

What Alice Forgot

Source: lianemoriarty.com.au

The narrative is provided to us readers via two perspectives – one by the Alice who is trying to fit bits and pieces together after her memory loss and rest in journal entries by her sister, Elizabeth, who has enough troubles of her own. So we enter the lives of these two women who are struggling to keep their lives in order while learning some life lessons along the way. As Alice starts to recall the past, she can’t help but wonder if she should have started mending bridges when she recalls the drifting apart had been her own doing. This is one of those tales that ponders the What If question in an interesting way even if predictable.

While the prose is easy to read, the clever tactic of revealing tidbits of flashbacks without giving much away helps in making it to the end. Unfortunately while the journey to the destination was nice, reaching it was a disappointment as it was rather abrupt.

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Campaign Ruby

03/24/2011 at 1:02 AM (Books, Politics, Romance) (, , , , )

My recent fling with chick lit has made me succumb to more of it. In this case, it was Campaign Ruby written by Jessica Rudd, the daughter of the ex PM of Australia.

It starts out with the protagonist Ruby getting fired from her job as an investment banker in London. Used to being financially well off, she is devastated when her Louboutins – towering high-heeled pumps with signature red soles –  arrive on that very day and she is forced to return them. Snubbed by the email sent by the HR staff, she creates a cutting reply and without thinking of the consequences hits send. By the next day her email has gone viral even to the extent of The Financial Times. To drown her sorrows, she indulges in a case of Australian Pinot Noir. On waking up the next day, she realises in a drunken stupor she has booked a flight to Melbourne departing on that night.

Campaign Ruby Book Cover

With the assistance of her efficient sister, Fran, Ruby is sent to stay with her lesbian aunt in the Yarra Valley. Although she gets off on the wrong foot with Debs, her aunt’s partner who happens to be a lawyer with a good sense of style, they ultimately resolve their differences. Despite not having a working visa, Ruby is offered a job as a financial policy advisor to the Federal Leader of the Opposition by the Chief of Staff during an impromptu visit to a political fundraiser. So upon accepting despite having no background on party views and economic policies, she finds herself enmeshed in the election campaign trail and dubbed Roo.

Thrown headfirst into the field of Australian politics, she finds herself enjoying the hectic pace despite suffering wardrobe malfunctions, numerous media related faux pas and relationship mishaps with men of dubious character. Despite her rookie status, Ruby makes suggestions which work well when the Treasurer overthrows the current PM and calls an early election. This is eerie and reminiscent of the K -Rudd situation but the strangest thing is that this book was written prior to that. It gives meaning to life imitating art certainly!

While Campaign Ruby is humorous and uses brand names to a suffocating extent, it is still enjoyable. Just watch out for the peppering of clichés. But as political chick lit spin, it’s a great read.

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