S. J. Watson’s BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP is a psychological thriller that is extremely intense and gripping and will suck you in immediately. It reminded me slightly of the Christopher Nolan film MEMENTO but it is original in its own right. The novel is told from the point-of-view of Christine who suffers from a rare form of amnesia. Each morning she wakes up with no memory of the last 20 years of her life. She must relearn her life every morning, including who her husband is, only to forget again the next day. At the urging of her doctor Christine begins to keep a journal, writing down the things she learns about herself each day. But through this process she discovers that the people she thinks are helping her cannot really be trusted and she begins to doubt whether she can even trust herself.
My frustrations in reading the book came from the way Christine’s journal is written. I felt it was written as if it were narrative and not a true reflection of how you would keep a journal, especially one that was kept in secret and often had to be written in a hurry. It is almost a too detailed account of each day with descriptions and conversations included as you would in a narrative not in how I think they would be recounted in a journal written often at the end of the day. Maybe the fact that Christine was a novelist before her memory loss meant that she wrote her journal in this form but it just didn’t ring true for me and the story lost some of its authenticity and I kept being snapped out of being lost in the book. I know other people who have read the book and didn’t have an issue at all with the journal writing and that is because the story itself is so compelling and the writing itself is really good.
Despite my frustrations I did really enjoy this book. It is thought-provoking, it keeps you guessing all the time and you will pester your friends to read it too.