Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review - Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

S. J. Watson makes his powerful debut with this compelling, fast-paced psychological thriller, reminiscent of Shutter Island and Memento, in which an amnesiac who, following a mysterious accident, cannot remember her past or form new memories, desperately tries to uncover the truth about who she is—and who she can trust.
My daughter had scarlet fever. Sunday night I had to go sit at the pharmacy and wait for her medication to be filled. The man behind the counter told me it would take 35 minutes so I immediately knew I needed to go find a book to read. There were a lot of books but the one that really stood out to me was Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson.

It's a story of a woman who' s been told she's been in a horrendous accident that's robbed her of her memory. But not just the memory of who she was and is and anything about her family... she's unable to remember anything from one day to the next. She falls asleep at night and then wakes up the next morning remembering absolutely nothing from the day before. With the help of a well meaning Dr. Nash and a secret journal she's been hiding in her closet (that he calls to remind her about every day) she starts getting her memory back in flashes. She writes down what she remembers and the next day when she's forgotten again she goes back and reads her previous entries.

That's when she finds out that things just don't add up. Someone is lying to her. And she can't tell if what she's seeing is memory or fantasy. She doesn't know if she's fabricating some of her memories because she desperately wants them to be real.

I don't normally read this type of novel. I'm more in to the paranormal and fantasy stuff. Maybe with some historical fiction thrown in there. But I'd seen the movie Memento and it was one of those movies that really screws with your mind and this book seemed to be just like it when I read the description so I had to grab it. I was not disappointed.

It's hard to imagine what life would be like if I couldn't remember any of it. Would I wake up not knowing my own children. Not knowing my fiance or my family. Being told what was going on and who everyone was and having to rely solely on the word of other people to get through the day. But that's just what Christine has to do. Rely on everyone else (in this case it's her husband and her doctor mostly) to tell her who she is. Only there ends up being miscommunications and unfortunately some of her memories get twisted.

The book was definitely suspenseful. I kept waiting for her to get this big revelation and suddenly remember everything and it was SO painful to have to read that she'd continuously woken up just as she had the day before. Completely blank. It was hard to formulate theories because every time I thought I had one I got the rug pulled out from under me and had to start fresh and try to come up with another one. It was a complete page turner.

It directed emotion well. I felt sorry for who the author wanted me to feel sorry for, I was angry at who I thought I was supposed to be angry at... and then the book took this huge hair pin turn and chucked a curve ball at me at the same time. Magnificent read.

There are some things in this book not suitable for anyone under the age of 18. And some things in this book that could trigger unhappy things in others. So I would recommend this for adults only. But I absolutely suggest you pick this one up if you see it at the store and give it a go. I'm really glad I did.


  1. I loved this book so much! I agree with you that it is a complete page-turner. Except that I suspected before the big secret was revealed who was the one responsible for Christine's situation. I still enjoyed it to the last page, though.
    I can't wait for the movie to come out.

  2. I loved this book! I stay away from it for awhile because I thought the plot wasn't original. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Great review!


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