Review : Before I Go to Sleep
Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson
Pages : 358
Genre : Mystery
My Rating :
What it’s about :
Every morning when she gets up, Christine’s life starts from scratch. Every night, her severe amnesia erases everything that happened during the day. She also has no clear memory of the past twenty years.
Then she puts her hands on a particular journal, a journal she has been writing and hiding for several weeks, trying to reconstruct her past. That’s when she discovers that the people close to her might not have been telling her everything – and that she can trust no one.
My Thoughts :
It would be difficult to explain why, but I am fascinated by books with amnesic characters. How strange would it be, waking up every morning not knowing who you are, or what happened in the past 20 years? Laying on a bed next to a strange man presenting himself as your husband, even though you can’t remember anything past college?
Before I Go to Sleep was such an intriguing read, I could hardly put it down. Kind of like 50 first dates, without the comedy and added mystery. The story flowed naturally, and the narration really brought me into Christine’s story. I thought the author did a great job with the pace, letting the reader experience Chrisine’s frustration as she learns everything again every day, without having it be too repetitive. There really wasn’t a boring moment in the story, and I thought the unusual setting worked well enough. While the writing didn’t distinguish itself in any special way, I thought it really suited the story, focusing on it rather than on its presentation.
I did guess the ending – or at least, the main idea of it, not the details – before the end, but not because it was extremely predictable; on the contrary, I think the suspense was woven subtly enough that I wasn’t completely sure of anything until the last few pages. And though the ending was a bit to coincidental for my taste (you know, in a “saved by the bell” way, when everything arrives at the precise moment it should, just when you think there’s no more hope, etc), it still was an ending full of action that didn’t pale when compared to the rest of the book.
Also, I really enjoyed Christine as a main character. A weird effect of her amnesia was that I didn’t feel we really get to know her, her tastes, her personality. But how could that be when she’s a new person everyday, sometimes waking up feeling like a child, sometimes waking up feeling like a grown woman? Her story is one of discovery in many different aspects, and I felt that through the day-to-day aspects of her life, too.
If you’re looking for a captivating mystery that would make a great summer read, this might be it. The book does focus more on the drama and human relationships than on action scenes, but it is still a book that kept me awake way past midnight. It might not be, after all, a book you’ll want to open just before you go to sleep!