Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep

Posted: January 22, 2012 in Book Reviews
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I’ve just finished reading “Before I Go To Sleep” by SJ Watson, and wow, what a read!

Before I Go To Sleep - SJ Watson (via Amazon)

The protagonist, Christine, suffered an accident in which serious head injuries cause her to lose her memory every night when she goes to sleep, so she wakes up not knowing who she is or who the people around her are. She can remember being a child and a young woman, but there are so many things she forgets and has to be reminded every single day when she wakes up. Her husband looks after her and reminds her of everything she’s forgotten each day, and his love for her is clear as he has stood by her all these years even though she doesn’t recognise him when she wakes up. Each day her doctor rings her up and reminds her of her journal, where she is encouraged by him to write down what happens each day, each memory she remembers, etc. She reads her journal entries to remind her what happened yesterday.

This novel is gripping and fascinating! I thought it might be too repetitive with Christine having to go through the same thing everyday – although it’s new to her each day – with her waking up with a stranger, thinking she’s young but looking in the mirror and realising she’s middle-aged, having to be reminded by her husband who she is and who he is. However, her thoughts each day change, especially when she remembers different things.

As the novel progresses, it’s obvious that she’s starting to remember more things and it gets complicated working out how everything fits together. Dr Nash tries to help her by taking her to places where she’s spent periods of her life and showing her photos, hoping to jog her memory, and it does work at times.

All the way through the novel, she questions her husband, Ben, and his actions, wondering why he doesn’t remind her sometimes that she has a son and that he is dead. I found it really weird that he would tell her who she is  each day, makes her breakfast and then goes off to work and leaves her alone. She could be a danger to herself as she has so few memories yet he leaves her alone all day. He just leaves her to fend for herself, what does he expect her to do all day? It seems like he expects her to look after the house and so on, but she’s so busy trying to figure out who she is and what is going on around her.

The plot gets more and more complex as Christine remembers vital things which change her whole perspective of her life and the people around her. She gets confused about what is real and what is not. As she tries to work out what happened to her, she regains contact with her best friend and then everything starts to get more confusing and then there is a brilliant twist which i admit i didn’t see coming! I thought it was something else, but the climatic ending is superbly written and executed!

I love this book, and i give it 9/10 because it is so original and complex! The plot is just fascinating and makes you question so many little things which happen throughout the novel as you try to work out where it’s heading. It makes you wonder how you would cope if it was you going through this same experience. I understand why it’s been the No1 Bestseller in the UK! I thoroughly recommend this book!

  1. Amy Pirt says:

    Great review!

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