I hope to raise readers in part so that they can gain the same gifts from reading as I have. There are many, many messages and lessons I’ve learned not from people or from articles but from stories, from fictional accounts of an imaginary person’s life.
A few weeks ago, I was reading the novel, What Alice Forgot. An easy and engaging read with a really important message. A pretty good combination if you ask me.
In the book, Alice suffers amnesia after falling from her spin bike. She wakes up believing it to be ten years earlier than it is. Ten years ago she is happily married and pregnant with her first child. In the present, she is the overextended, stay at home mother of three overscheduled children who is struggling through an ugly divorce. As Alice begins to piece together the missing ten years, the reader comes to understand that it was Alice’s busyness that turned a happy life into the miserable one she now leads.
Alice’s sister tries to explain to her how little time she spends with Alice’s children- how she has grown apart from them.
The author writes,
“It’s just that you’re all so busy. The children have so many activities. They’ve all got swimming lessons. Olivia has ballet. Tom plays soccer and Madison plays hockey. And the birthday parties! They’re always going to someone’s birthday party. Their social lives are amazing. I remember when they were little, I always knew exactly the right thing to get them for their birthdays. They’d rip off the paper in a frenzy. Now I have to ring you, and you tell me exactly where to go and what to ask for. Or else you just buy it yourself and I give you the money.”
As Alice listens, she can’t believe what her life has become. And as I read, I was happy that a book was able to remind me to slow down. To unschedule. To say no. These are the messages that we can take from stories. If we slow down enough to listen.