Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

In Before I Go to Sleep, Christine wakes up every day to a man she doesn't know. He reassures her that he's her husband, Ben. He also tells her that she had an accident two decades ago that causes her to lose her memory every night. To him it's normal, to her it's frightening. A little later, Dr. Nash phones Christine and tells her that he's been working with her, unbeknownst to Ben. He directs her to a journal hidden in her closet. Supposedly, she's been taking notes each day for the past few weeks so that she can refer back to them and know what's been going on. As the notes accumulate in her journal, a picture of her former and current life becomes more clear and more unbelievable.

This is such an awesome book. I adored everything about it, but I especially loved how the story unfolded. I'm a real sucker for books that feature memories or memory loss. I can't remember why, though. ;) There were more than a few times that I felt shivers up my spine as details of the story were revealed. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, the author would surprise me and go in a different direction. Absolutely wonderful writing.

I'm so glad Watson decided to write the book in the first person. It made the story more intimate, more real, more believable. I got to hear the story right from the person who was most affected. This decision also lead me astray somewhat. Watson writes so convincingly as a woman that I was shocked (and almost dropped the book) when I saw his picture on the back flap. I was positive, absolutely positive, that the book was written by a woman.

I was a little confused when I got to Part III partly because I was so wrapped up in reading Christine's writings. I had to go back a bit in the story to figure out why there was a shift in the story. By the way, confusion in this case is really good. It was my "aha" moment. Up until then I really liked the book. However at that point, right then and there, I decided that I loved this book.

I really felt sorry for Christine. I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to have a condition like hers - the inability to form new memories. It was painful to learn that it had being going on for decades. I liked Ben for sticking by her and commended him for his patience. That was before, well, you know. I won't say anymore than that lest I let loose a spoiler. I won't soon forget either of them.

Favourite quotes:
The irony: that I am prone to forgetting that I have no memory. (page 254)
Highly recommended. This book will definitely be on my Best of 2011 list. I hope to read many more books by Watson.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.

For more information about the author, please visit S.J. Watson's website.

I purchased this book.

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson, HarperCollins, ©2011. ISBN 9781443404068(Trade Paperback), 358p.


  1. I loved this book, too. Only the ending seemed a bit summarized, as if the author didn't feel like continuing.

    There was definitely a shift in the book and I also remember going back to read parts from earlier in the diary.

    I thought it was a very special book, in the sense that it was quite an original story.

  2. I read this book last week and enjoyed it! I still need to write my review though :)

  3. I sort of know what you mean about the ending Judith. While I loved the book, I thought the ending could have been a bit stronger.

    I'll keep an eye out for your review, Uniflame. I've added your blog to my Google Reader.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  4. Hi I am your ewest follower, I found you through Uniflames website :D

    I loved this book, it is one of my favs from 2011 and I voted for it in the goodreads poll

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net


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