Friday, August 10, 2012

Review: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Book Details:
Before I Go To Sleep
By S.J. Watson
Genre: Fiction
Published 2011, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Paperback, 358 pages
ISBN: 9781443404068

          "As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me. . . ."
Memories define us.
So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?
Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight.
And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story.
Welcome to Christine's life.
I read this book on the avid insistence of a friend, and I am sure glad I read this book. The premise is quite intriguing - a woman with a very unique type of amnesia in which she wakes up every morning not remembering anything from as much as several decades of her life. What is most interesting is that sometimes she wakes thinking she is a child, while others she believes she is a young adult. There is no predicting at what believed age she will be when she wakes, and no controlling it.
A few things bugged me about the plot, the first of which was that on the mornings that she was supposed to wake as a child, nothing in her behavior indicated that of a child - she still behaved the same as when she woke as a full-grown adult. I was also immediately suspicious of Ben, as his behavior towards her did not seem very motivated towards achieving a return of her memory- but I suppose that was the point.
Despite Christine's loss of memory, in many ways her actions are instinctual - which is very realistic and made for some tense scenes. A Dr. Nash comes to her aid in secret, both because her case is no unusual and because he really does want to help her. Despite the difficulties of Christine not remembering him from day-to-day, he is still able to make progress with her - all behind Ben's back. On his advice, Christine begins  keeping a journal of each day, as well as what memories return to her. This is when the book really picks up in intensity, as Christine comes to realize that her own mind could be her own worst enemy. At times she is not even certain if she can trust the words in her journal, since she cannot remember writing them.
As she fills up her journal, she begins to uncover lies and secrets in her life that create nail-biting, mind-blowing scenes that had me riveted. I was a little disappointed with how the book ends - after all of the build up, it seemed almost anti-climactic. Other than that, the book was an excellent read, especially for a first-time author. Everyone should read this book!

The Cover: The picture on the cover alludes to the title, plus the fact that the woman's face is hidden goes well with the plot of the book. It's fitting in its simplicity.

First Lines: "The bedroom is strange. Unfamiliar. I don't know where I am, how I came to be here. I don't know how I'm going to get home."
What an interesting way to begin a book - my curiosity is peaked!

Favorite Quote: "What are we, if not an accumulation of our memories?

Read For: Just for Fun Reading Challenge


Marlene Detierro said...

I just recently grabbed a copy of this. Now I would like to start reading it immediately wouldn't it be for other reading commitments. Thanks for the review.

Marlene Detierro (Cash Advance Company)

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