August 25, 2011

Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel by S. J. Watson
2011 Harper
Finished on 7/3/11
Rating: 4.5/5 Terrific!

Publisher’s Blurb:

"As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me. . . ."

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.

Oh, my gosh. This was such a good book! Some reviewers have mentioned that it was a bit repetitious, but I wasn’t bothered by that in the least. I couldn’t stop thinking about Christine and her predicament, wondering who (or what) in the world was responsible for her amnesia. My heart raced as I read, far too late into the night, the tension building and feeling a sense of dread as the final chapters drew near. I wanted to shout, “Don’t go!” but of course, she couldn’t hear me. And even if she did, she wouldn’t remember my words of caution when she awoke the next morning. Can you imagine?! Our memories make up such a large part of who we are and to lose everything you know every single night—and to know that you would do so—would be unbearable to me. What purpose would one have to continue living? And how exhausting for those around you, having to relive and explain all the important information that would help you to understand who you are. To awaken every morning and not know where you are, who is sleeping in your bed, or even how old you are. Mind-boggling!

I raced through this book in less than a week. These days, that’s pretty fast for me! Watson kept me guessing, but I felt the conclusion was a bit rushed. Nonetheless, I thought it was a fabulous read and will be on the look out for more by this talented author.

Thanks to Kay and Bellezza, I discovered this thrilling novel:

We were meant to feel the bewilderment and fright that the protagonist felt as she reeled from one day to the next learning the same things over and over. And, as I said above, the sense of menace increases as she peels back the layers to finally arrive at that specific memory that lurks in her subconscious. In fact, I finally found myself sitting on the edge of my chair as I read, actually quite physically uncomfortable, as I raced through the pages to that shocking ending. I found this a most compelling and disturbing book, especially the parts about the memory. (Kay, from My Random Acts of Reading)

Go here to read Kay’s full review.

Imagine the distress in waking and not knowing if you were grown up or still a child. Married. Or, even a mother. She must totally rely on the things her husband, and her doctor, are telling her. And someone is lying. Because the stories and her feelings don't match up; as her memories come back to her bit by bit, she comes closer and closer to discovering the truth.

A nail biting truth with a harrowing edge. One that makes me grateful for my choices, and my memory, upon turning the final page. (Bellezza, from Dolce Bellezza)

Go here to read Bellezza’s entire review.

Memento on crystal meth.” Dennis Lehane

Oh, yeah.


  1. My book club is reading this next month. I can't wait!

  2. I love books that make me want to shout at the characters! (and what a shame they can't hear us!) :--)

  3. You know a book is well written when you start talking to the characters. This sounds like a winner!

  4. Tricia - I'll bet this generates a great discussion! Thanks for stopping by (and for the link-love for Unbroken).

    Rhapsodyinbooks - Even if she could hear me, she'd forget after a good night's sleep. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

    Kathy - Isn't that the truth. And, yes, it is definitely a winner. Would make a great movie, too.

  5. Les, this sounds terrific. I have to make sure to read this one.

  6. Diane - It really is very good. Definitely an edge-of-seat thriller! I'll be anxious to read your review if you get around to reading it.

  7. I'm one of those that was bothered by the repetition, but still really enjoyed it.

  8. Joy - And I might have been annoyed by the repetition had I not been forewarned. :)

  9. Good point. Sometimes just a little heads-up makes all the difference.

  10. SOOO stinkin' good, wasn't it? I love a thriller which is expertly written such as this!


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