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Wednesday 1 February 2012

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

           Hello fellow book-worms! I finished a novel the other night called 'Before I Go To Sleep' by a British author S.J. Watson. It's a book written for adults but I'd been eying it up since August and I finally decided to buy it. It follows the story of Christine, a 47 year-old amnesiac who wakes up every morning not knowing where she is, who the man sleeping next to her is, nor how old she is. Sounds very '50 First Dates' right? I thought so at first but it's actually a very chilling thriller that leaves you wanting more.

Author: S.J. Watson
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle- aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.
But it’s the phone call from a Dr. Nash, a neurologist who claims to be working with Christine without her husband’s knowledge, that directs her to her journal, hidden in the back of her closet. For the past few weeks, Christine has been recording her daily activities—tearful mornings with Ben, sessions with Dr. Nash, flashes of scenes from her former life—and rereading past entries, relearning the facts of her life as retold by the husband she is completely dependent upon. As the entries build up, Christine asks many questions. What was life like before the accident? Why did she and Ben never have a child? What has happened to Christine’s best friend? And what exactly was the horrific accident that caused such a profound loss of memory?
Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.

This book left my thoughts reeling the minute I turned the last page. S.J. Watson has an extraordinary talent for making you feel like everything in the novel is happening right before your eyes, or even better: happening to you. This was probably one of the best 'non-series' novels I've ever read. It was engaging, emotional and very addicting. There is some 'adult content' in this book, but other than that I'd recommend it for almost anyone. 

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  1. I loved a lot about this book, starting with the premise. It gripped me from the first page. The writing, too, is very good. Spare, quiet--it's not the over-the-top or just plain bad genre writing you see much of in Mystery novels. Still, I couldn't help but feel that while the premise was the best part of the novel, it was also the worst. The frame of memory loss hamstrung the book making it feel very claustrophobic and limited. It was clear early on this was who-dunnit. I would have preferred less focus on who and more focus on the psychological aspects of her condition. It's in these moments that book transcends simple airport fiction and rises to literature.

    1. I agree with you on all of the above... This must be one of my very first reviews, because it's so tiny! If I re-reviewed it now, it would be 3-4 paragraphs long!


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