Before I Go To Sleep | Book Review

I have a thing about books where if it is gripping, well-written and thrilling, I can get into the zone faster than an Olympic swimmer and before I know it I am through 150 pages and about to miss my train station… This zone is exactly the one that Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson took me. It is an epic, thrilling, blood-chilling race through the nuances of trust and the fragility of the human mind.

Since the film adaptation was released yesterday, which stars my new favourite screen duo of our Nicole and Mr Darcy (The Railway Man was amazing…), I wanted to read it quickly so I could then see the film. And read it quickly is what I did, and without even trying. The pace of the book was so fast and enthralling that I simply could not put it down! I highly recommend this book, and consider it to  be possibly the best thriller I have ever read …

Christine awakes in a room she doesn’t recognise, sleeping beside a man she has never seen before. He explains that he is Ben, her husband, this is her home and a terrible car accident had destroyed her memory – leaving her incapable of transferring a day’s events into long term memory. She wakes as a blank slate every day. Christine knows she could not have always been in this condition, and behind Ben’s back she is helped by Dr Nash, a promising young psychologist who is working to unlock Christine’s memory.

Nash encourages her to keep a diary and record each day’s events in the hope it will cause her past to become clearer. Slowly through flashbacks and her diary, Christine starts to remember more about the terrible accident and her life before she lost her memory. It becomes increasingly apparent to Christine that the truth may set her free. But it might just drag her through hell first.

READ  2013 John Button Prize

Christine does not know who to trust – is Ben concealing the past from her to protect and save her the distress of events, or is he hiding something? Is her doctor someone she can trust? Did her best friend really abandon her… and what really happened on that fateful night when her life was ruined???

In a spiralling and intense thriller, S.J. Watson weaves a web fraught with duplicitous characters, one that masterfully plays on your own anxieties to keep the pages turning fast. It’s so beautifully written – jarring as clues are revealed and as elegant as falling snow with it’s vivid descriptions. S.J. Watson has created a woman so dynamic and real that you feel like maybe you’re reading a true story. Christine is more than ink and paper, her thoughts and emotions are grounded in a reality that draws you into the book and does not let you go, even after that final page is turned.

An evocative thriller, a story of redemption and an emotional rollercoaster, Before I Go To Sleep explores the frail, fragile thing that is the mind and memory; and then in the same step shows the immense bravery and persistence humans are capable of. Whether you read the book or see the film, Before I Go To Sleep is a brilliant and enthralling story that you should in no way, shape or form, allow yourself to miss!

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