Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Before I Go to Sleep - SJ Watson

Before I Go To Sleep - I can't remember how many pages - I can't remember who wrote the book, either

You know what would be great about having a significant other with amnesia? Nothing. Especially if you're like Christine in Before I Go To Sleep; her memory gets knocked out every time she rests her head on a pillow. She has that Memento or 50 First Dates thing going on.

What's a girl with a condition to do? See a doctor behind her husband Ben's back? Keep a hidden journal and write in big bold letters on the first page "DO NOT TRUST BEN"? Sure sure. Sounds great. Ben is her husband and seems to take care of Christine. But obviously something unseemly is going on in the household.

After Christine starts keeping track of her memories in a journal (which comprises a majority of the novel) things start to get odd. Like, for instance, why doesn't Christine have any friends? Where is the rest of her family? Ben is lying about something, but is it for her own good? Is he trying to spare her feelings? Imagine having to tell someone every day that their son is dead. It'd be heartbreaking all over again.

I was expecting the journal entries--or Christine's days---to repeat themselves like in all those episodes of Star Trek where they get stuck in a time loop or lose their memories. She does get a Groundhog Day-type thing going on at one point; but each day is unique, each journal entry a little bit more different. When Christine finally starts digging into her own past; the novel really starts to take off.

I really wish I had slowed down and enjoyed Before I Go to Sleep a little bit more; I read it in two days over the weekend so I feel like I didn't give it enough attention; but that's because I couldn't put it down. It is a memory thriller and it's all been done before; but Christine's unique voice and SJ Watson's writing keeps it from being, well, a repeat.

Favorite line:

"The room is full of people, dressed mostly in black. Fucking art students, I think."

Reminded me of:

That episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where everyone loses their memory.


Rated:
Creepy van. Because something is off about this whole situation.

5 comments:

  1. I was excited about the concept of this book, and at first had trouble putting it down. But, the characters were predictable as was the outcome so I was slightly let down about halfway through the book. Having had trouble with amnesia myself, maybe I just wanted some answers that made sense, but the many inconsistencies throughout this book made it less believable. A person with this degree of disability would not be left alone as much as Christine, but try it for yourself...you might not be able to sleep tonight or any other night!

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  2. Christine's sanity and identity are assaulted every time she wakes up but something is horribly wrong beyond Christine's amnesia and how it has wrecked her life. How Christine manages to uncover the devastating and shocking truth inspite of being unable to rely upon her own recollection is a marvel of storytelling. Before I Go to Sleep is not a perfect, airtight book - it has some logical holes - but I never saw what was coming; I was as stunned as Christine!

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