Monday, July 18, 2011

Before I Go to Sleep ~ S.J. Watson review

Before I Go to Sleep
June 14, 2011
368 pages

S.J. Watson's debut Before I Go to Sleep is a novel about forgetting, but one you won't soon forget. Main character Christine wakes up every day not knowing who she is, where she is, or who the man sleeping in bed beside her is. She wakes expecting to be in her early twenties (or younger) when, in reality, she's nearing fifty. The lines on her face and hands surprise her every time.

Each night when Christine goes to sleep her memory is erased, reset; and each morning her husband, Ben, has to explain their life to her once again.

After a violent accident years ago left her with amnesia, Christine is unable to remember things from day to day, leaving her entirely dependent on her husband.

At her doctor's encouragement she starts a journal, writing down the day's events in a hope it will help jog her memory. But it's the words Christine finds on that journal one day, "Don't trust Ben," that leave both her and the reader guessing.

Can Ben really be trusted? Can Christine's transcription of events? Is everything that happened to Christine as it's been portrayed? Is everyone as they seem?

What has happened to her memory . . . and will it ever return?

Before I Go to Sleep is a novel full of twists and turns. It starts off being an interesting tale of a woman who cannot remember her life and gradually yearns more and more to have it back (sort of the grown up cousin to Forgotten) and then becomes more of a psychological thriller. The reader is left guessing just how much there really is to this story that at first could have seemed so simple (simple but strange).

The last big twist is one readers might figure out themselves a bit before it's revealed but that will only add to the suspense as you wait for the events to ultimately unfold.

Before I Go to Sleep is a novel you will, likely, want others to read if only so you can discuss with them what they thought of it or ask them questions about certain parts--it's not a talk about it novel.

It is also an adult novel. For YA readers: Mostly due to the general plot and content but also to a few instances in language/scenes of sex. There's also some coarse language - but probably less than most YA novels.

I will be looking for more from S.J. Watson in the future.


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