Sunday, December 11, 2011

Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson

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.

So far this year I have read 40 adult fiction books ~ I really enjoy splicing up the YA reading with adult fiction and one of my favourite go to genres is psychological suspense ~ which really delivers in unputownable, absorbing reads. Before I Go To Sleep was one of my faves this year.

Did you check out the premise for this one? It's like '50 First Dates' ~ onlt not a romance, haha. I really should make a shelf for books centred around amnesia as I seem to be drawn to them :) 

This UK debut is making some very big waves around the globe. Weirdly, I cannot remember why I first added it to my TBR, but I did wait a few months to get through the reservation queue at my library and there's still months worth of people waiting behind me :D 

I do love the thriller/suspense genre. What I love about it this: once I start a suspense novel such as this, with mystery elements and an undercurrent of unease, I get sucked in. Before I Go To Sleep is hugely compelling and I read it in two sittings. 

It's a brilliant reading experience in the sense that I was caught up in the book and really wanting to not put the damn thing down ( 'please, kids, can't you see I'm reading?' ;)). Very mesmerising. 

The thing that always gets to me about the thriller/suspense genre though: those twists (!) the climaxes (!) the revelations (!) and ... the melodrama. 

Before I Go To Sleep was pretty typical fare: well written, sharp, mysterious, intriguing. Tightly plotted. 

And then, the second half is unleashed. At this point, I am sucked in. At this point, things start unravelling in the story and I am guessing at twists (it is to be expected) and desperate to find out what's really going on (and see if I am right). It is also at this point where the book changes from being believable to being much more dramatic (less believable) entertainment. Although most the villainous melodrama was held off until the climax (thank you). I think it is standard of the genre, and it does make me cringe somewhat. I had a similar experience reading Still Missing ~ a book I loved earlier in the year, despite it's ridiculous and overly ambitious twist-like revelations. 

I cannot say I cared for the characters, but I do not read this genre to care for characters. I can say I cared for the situation Chrissie was in and that kind of amnesia is still whirring in my mind. It was rather nightmarish and, in some ways, I would prefer to be dead than to live like that :/ 

In conclusion: top stars for the thrilling, unputdownable times. Bump it down a smidgen for those moments of melodrama which occasionally leave a bad taste in my mouth (although nothing vile, just not my literary preference). Overall ~ I loved reading this and I honestly don't want to think too hard about this book which was pure entertainment. If you enjoy the suspense genre or psychological thrillers ~ this is one book you should add to your TBR. It also fared really well in the goodreads choice awards :)

I do think it felt incredibly well researched and some aspects of (the amnesia) are truly fascinating and mind-boggling ~ loved that. Also, I will read more of this authors work (just an FYI, haha). 

Recommended for fans of Chevy Stevens and Lisa Unger and also fans of Nicci French (one of my faves)

literary awards for Before I Go To Sleep 

Before I Go To Sleep @ goodreads


  1. I really enjoyed this one too! Even though I was pretty sure I'd figured out what was going on early on (and I had) it still kept me on my toes and had me suspecting everyone of wrongdoings!

  2. A great and detailed review, Nomes. I ended up rating this three stars, but I wasn't even sure why until now. I think you have a point about the believability of the second half. It's too bad, really, the start was very promising.

    I think that I've (unintentionally) discouraged some friends from reading it. I do think it's worth reading, it just wasn't as good as I expected.

  3. Awesome review, I remember I heard about this book before but I hadn't read a review of it.

    :) It sounds like an amazing, adult book!

  4. hummmm... I don't normally read adult books (why? because I have a hard time finding the really good ones- which is a lame excuse now that I'm a book blogger and I have all these bookish friends LOL) BUT this sounds pretty amazing and horrifying and mind twisting. Always a good thing in a book :)

    ♥ Trish
    Just a YA Girl

  5. Oooh, jumping to the top of the list!
    Reminds me of the film Memento-- which is awesome. Did you see that one?

  6. I love the sound of this one. And the font on the cover looks really cool. I think I'm going to check it out, because amnesia like that? So, so interesting.

  7. I heard the author of this interviewed on the radio and it does sound fun. Your review is making me think it's exactly the kind of fun, don't think to hard boo I like for the holiday season!

    On my list now Thanks :-)


Thanks for the commenty love :)