book review: before i go to sleep by sj watson

It is the titles as much as the covers that intrigue me to pick up a book. This book had both things going for me; not only did the eye on the cover pierce you, but “Before I Go To Sleep” seemed so interesting. The back of the book made me even more curious as it reminded me of 50 First Dates but I got the feeling it wouldn’t be all warm and fuzzy.

“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 only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.”

Intriguing, isn’t it? And before you think that it is just a different version of 50 First Dates let me stop you now and tell you that you couldn’t be more wrong. For starters, Christine doesn’t always wake up thinking it’s the same day (the day of her accident), sometimes she wakes up thinking she is still a child, other times, she is much older, but she never gets into her 30s despite being in her late 40s.

At the advice of a doctor her husband Ben doesn’t know she’s seeing, Christine starts to keep a journal (similar to 50 First Dates) where she writes down what has happened that day and what bits of her memory have come back to her. She meets with Dr Nash most days to talk about what she can remember. She reads the journal every day and remembers some of what she has written. Dr Nash is convinced that her memory is there but is still trying to figure out how she can access it.

Then things become confusing, stories aren’t quite matching up between what Ben and Dr Nash are saying and what Christine is writing. And I’ll stop right here before I give away what happens.

Before I Go To Sleep is a phenomenal first novel. I studied Crime Fiction in Extension English in Year 11 and 12 so whenever I read Crime Fiction, I’m not so much analysing it, but trying to figure out what happened, trying to pick the red herrings from the real clues. Before I Go To Sleep kept me guessing. Whenever I thought I had it figured out, Watson would throw another spanner in the works which meant I was continually shocked while reading.

The book is separated into three parts “Part One: Today” “Part Two: The Journal of Christine Lucas” and “Part Three: Today”. I really like the way Watson set it out. I like that we get to read Christine’s journal (which is the majority of the book) which made me feel like I was discovering what was going on, along with Christine.

I would definitely recommend reading this book, it is a simply fascinating read.

Picture of Book


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