Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Every night when Christine goes to sleep, she loses her memory. She has to rebuild her life each morning with the help of only her husband and doctor. In such a situation, who do you trust?

I came across Before I Go To Sleep in a newspaper article suggesting some good summertime reads. I am glad I happened to find the article, because I really enjoyed the book! The book begins as the main character Christine opens her eyes in the morning. She’s confused, unsure of where she is and doesn’t know the man next to her. As she begins to panic, the man calmly reminds her that he’s her husband Ben. It turns out that Christine suffers from amnesia and while she can remember her life moment to moment during the day, her memory resets each night while she’s asleep. Before Ben leaves for work in the morning, he gives Christine a tour of the house and some simple directions for her day.

Much of the book is the contents of Christine’s journal. Her doctor suggested she keep the private journal as her own documentation of reality as she sees it each day. Even though we read through weeks of Christine’s journal with her, all the action in this story happens in just one day. Christine is anxious to answer so many questions - What was her life like before? Why can’t she get answers about the mysterious accident that caused her amnesia? And most importantly, why did she write at the front of her journal to not trust Ben? On top of everything, as the reader, we have to wonder whether we can trust a narrator with amnesia. The reason I enjoyed this book is because we don’t know anything about Christine’s daily life that she doesn’t know. We completely understand her emotions of frustration and not knowing who to believe or trust. When Christine learns something new about her life, it surprises us as well.

While I enjoyed the book thoroughly, I disagree with the original article of it just being a summertime read. To me, those types of books take little concentration and are a breeze to get through. This book was full of clues that were important in the end and I felt those little details elevated it from just a beach book!

Book Information:

I checked the book out from HCPL, but it's also available from Amazon & other bookstores. In addition to hardcover, it's also available in large print softcover and as an audiobook. Amazon's Kindle store has it available as an e-book as well.

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J August 02, 2011 at 10:31 AM
You've peaked my interest. This is one I'll have to read. I enjoyed reading article. You gave us just enough information.
Mhick August 03, 2011 at 12:56 PM
I am reading this now - and can't put it down. Great read!
Jenny Harner August 03, 2011 at 04:30 PM
I hope you enjoy it. It's so hard to write about books when you know it's a fine line between not enough & too many details! :) -Jenny
Jenny Harner August 03, 2011 at 04:31 PM
I'm glad someone else is enjoying it. My mom read it when she was visiting & I owe HCPL overdue fines for one day because I kept it until she was done! :) -Jenny


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