Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: Personal Copy
Christine wakes up every morning with no recollection of her recent life. The man laying in bed beside her is a stranger, pictures are placed around the bathroom mirror to help her adjust each morning, she can't help but notice her hands are much older. When looking into the mirror, the woman staring back at her is not the person she remembers. She’s much older, apparently the man next to her in bed is her husband, she’s married to a man she doesn’t remember loving. Each new day, Ben gently reminds Christine about their life together. When Christine begins secretly working with a therapist, he encourages her to start a journal. Their meetings are kept from Ben, after many unsuccessful attempts he doesn’t want to put Christine through the pain of failed treatment again. Perhaps, not wanting to put himself through the same pain. Surprisingly small memories begin to come back to Christine, although she may not remember them the next morning, she has her journal to help jog her memory. Unfortunately, each new day she also has to relive her devastating memories. When she opens her journal and discovers a note “Don’t trust Ben” written in her handwriting Christine is very confused. She has no one in her life besides Ben.
Before I Go to Sleep has received rave reviews, and initially I wasn’t sure what to think about it. The concept of memory loss is not new, and I wasn’t too keen on picking this one up. When I started reading the book, I was quickly caught up in the story. As the story shifted to journal entries, I became very nervous. Journal entries from an amnesiac could potentially be very repetitive, and fortunately they were not. Each journal entry is a clue that builds on Christine’s backstory. This book is rated as a thriller, but it’s not really mysterious until half way through. At the end of the book, I couldn’t help but think “this would be a great movie.”
Christine’s character was very believable, her emotions were real and her circumstances were heart wrenching. The first person narrative is excellent. Christine isn’t a very reliable witness, readers are carried on the journey with her. She has skeletons in her closet, and is shocked to figure out where her life took her. When it becomes clear that Ben hasn’t been upfront with her, we all begin to wonder why. Is he protecting her, making the answers easier for himself, after all tomorrow will be a new day with the same set of questions. Ben seems to be the perfect, patient husband and readers begin to question Christine. Why can’t she trust Ben? S J Watson has written a real page-turner, one that will keep you thinking long after you close the book. Highly recommended!