Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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

Book Summary from S J Watson's site

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 un- believable it seems.

My Review - 3 More Sugar Please
I consider this to be Psychological Fiction with a glimmer of Mystery.  The story was a very scary thought, to live life without memories every day.  Who do you trust, what is reality, do you believe what you think or are you making it up, very intriguing concept.
I did think due to Christine waking up every day without memory it got repetitive. Also, the execution of her journal entries just didn't seem real to me and I wish there was more of a distinct difference from the present moments.  I also couldn't get past how she would remember not to say things at times, to keep secrets.
Christine realises her husband is lying to her but why, to protect her from the truth maybe.  Figuring out you do not know yourself or anyone else everyday is hurting enough so he loves her enough to know when to be honest.  Some truths are to painful for him to relive also.
I think my biggest issue is why does she go sleep every night, hello.  I'm sure I could stay up 3 days minimum if I had to and with this lifetime issue but she doesn't suffer from sleep deprivation or even consider it, weird to me.
Psychological mysteries are my favourite, I always try to figure them out, which I did in this one. I found the first half of the book hard to continue, it grabbed me and didn't keep my attention, considered stopping and going back later.

I think this is a good debut, good try.


  1. The premise is quite scary - I can't imagine living without memories. I love psychological suspense, but Before I Go To Sleep doesn't seem like the best in that genre. Still, I would like to give it a try.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. I've seen other reviews of this one and it never occurred to me that she should try to stay awake.

  3. This reminds me of a movie with Kate Hudson a few years back, she couldn't remember from one day to the next either. What a frightful thing to have happen, but I'm sure it happens more than we know. Especially with the elderly.

  4. You made some great points. I think I liked it more than you did. I really got into Christine so I didn't question the obvious, like why go to sleep. Good point.

  5. I've been waiting to hear your thoughts on this one.:-) Interesting!
    I'm next in the library holds queue so we'll see how I like it.

  6. We have similar thoughts on this one. This is too bad cos I was really looking forward to it, especially given all the buzz (and movie rights! and comparison to Momento! and...!) I also thought about why she didn't try to stay up longer to see if the memory vanishes also. I forgot to put it in my review, but one night she didn't sleep in her room and thus put her diary elsewhere and not the usual place, so how did she remember where it is the next day or why she has a diary if it's the first thing she sees in the morning? I think there were some plot holes, but I guess it's a story and I shouldn't try to over analyze little details :)

    I'll link my review if others are interested in reading:

  7. I have only read two chapters and put it on hold until I am in the mood to read it. I don't know why, but maybe because it isn't what I thought it would be, so that holds me back. Good review as always, Rae

  8. There seems to be many books lately that deal with memory problems. You bring up some valid points with this one. Not sure I would want to go to bed every night if I knew tomorrow I would not remember a thing. It really is a frightening concept. Thanks for an honest review.

  9. I also wondered why she didn't stay up all night at least once, but it did not deter from my overall feeling of absolutely loving the book!

  10. I like your honesty. The more reviews i read, the less favorable they are. Most say it's a fun read but that it has flaws. I still want to read it though the whole repeating thing might get to me. I hated the movie Groundhogs Day for that same reason. bleh.

  11. I thought the same as you did - why not try to stay up for longer than a day? I would. I have seen that many considered some of the novel repetitive, but I felt that it sort of fit the nature of her illness. I was totally caught up in this one, flipping pages fast and dirty, trying to figure out why her husband would lie to her, and who attacked her, and why she and her friend were on the outs ... I kind of saw a movie screen in my mind, as I think it might make a good movie if re-written properly for the screen. I linked your review to my own.

  12. The book didn't start getting REALLY good until I was more than halfway done. And when I say REALLY good, I mean it went from okay to AMAZING in .8 seconds. The plot was so thick, the book has sucked me in so much. The last half of the book flew by and I ended up reading the whole book in one day. It was gripping. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the end. And when it ended, I truly did not even want it to end. It was amazing. And because of that, I highly recommend it. Not only is the style and concept different, they end up gripping you till the very last page.. if you let it.


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