What Melissa Could Potentially Forget
After I finished The Husband’s Secret, Ana suggested Liane Moriarty’s book, What Alice Forgot. I love Moriarty’s writing style, so I quickly jumped into the new book without looking at what it was about.
Answer: a lot of infertility and loss.
But I’m not ready to unpack that part of the book yet.
The general plot line is that Alice sustains a head injury during an exercise class and loses the last ten years of her life. She comes to thinking that she’s newly married and pregnant only to discover that she’s getting divorced and is parenting three children. The only people she remembers are the people who were in her life 10 years ago.
In one scene, her sister mentions that Alice baked her brother-in-law banana muffins, and Alice muses that she doesn’t know how to bake banana muffins and wonders what recipe she used.
I started panicking as I read this. There is so much information that exists solely in my head, that has never been written down. It’s like never backing up your computer; you could lose all your documents. I need to back up my brain.
There’s my chocolate chip cookie recipe. I make them for everyone. People request these cookies. What if I got bonked on the head and forgot how to make them and no one could ever eat them again? What if they coveted them, sighing, “I wish we could eat Melissa’s cookies one last time…” But they couldn’t. Because of the head bonk.
But those are just cookies. What about all the memories I’m holding for other people? I have thousands of stories from the twins’ childhood, funny things they said or did, or touching moments that they’ll want to hear about down the road. I am the memory keeper for large chunks of my marriage to Josh. My job depends upon my memory. Let’s say that I need to write a scene where someone is acting awkward at a party. I go through my mental file cabinet and take out the figurative folder under “A” for “awkwardness at parties” where I’ve filed away moments that I noticed while once at a party and observed someone uncomfortably clinging to the wall. And I use that as a template for creating my awkward character.
What would I do if I lost my memories? And how does one back up a brain that is constantly in flux, being filled with information every single second of the day?
This book is freaking me out.
Thanks a lot, Liane Moriarty.*
* I’m only saying that semi-sarcastically. I’m enjoying the book, and you’re a skillful, engaging writer.