Tuesday, July 5, 2011
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 be telling you only half the story.
Welcome to Christine's life. -- Harper
When I read that the New York Times is calling BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by S.J. Watson, "“The summer’s single most suspenseful plot belongs to BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP. . . . pure page-turner," I decided that I had to read it. And then I saw that this novel was getting rave reviews from the like of Dennis Lehane and Tess Gerritsen too. Praise like that doesn't come often for debut books and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP has a pretty incredible premise. The book begins with Christine waking up next to a middle-aged stranger. She has no idea who he is or how she got there. She learns that this "stranger" is her husband and that he was in a horrible accident that caused her to have amnesia. Basically, every day when Christine's wakes up she has almost no memory of the day before -- it's like starting over for her every morning. Christine begins keeping a daily journal so she can "remember" and quickly realizes that many things in her life aren't adding up. She desperately wants to discover who she is, but she's not sure about whom she can trust in the process.
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP is an unbelievable ride told through the voice of Christine. The entire novel has many twists and turns and I thought the author did a terrific job of getting inside Christine's head. At times, I actually felt uncomfortable reading this book; and I was as confused as Christine about the people in her life. Like Christine, I didn't know if she could trust her husband, her doctor, or her best friend; and I went back and forth between knowing who to trust. I also began to even doubt Christine's "memories" and I wasn't sure that I thought she was a reliable narrator. Needless to say, I loved how the author played so many mind games with the reader this book.
I enjoyed BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP a great deal and I do agree with the attention that this book is getting. In fact, I was so absorbed in this story and the characters that I didn't want to put the book down. I would definitely describe BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP as "gripping and suspenseful;" and I loved that it evoked so much feeling in me. I truly was on the edge of my seat for the entire novel and I don't often say that about thrillers! I was pretty sure that this novel was going to be one of my favorites for the year (or at the very least, the summer)... until the very end.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that I was disappointed with the ending. It's just that this novel was so incredibly good and I'm not sure the ending could have possibly lived up the the rest of the novel. Maybe it was the author's intent, but I did figure out where the story was going. I think I just wanted a huge shocker and it just didn't happen for me. I know a few other readers had the exact same feelings that I did. I think the issue is when a book provides this much suspense, the reader feels a little let down if they figure out the twist.
Despite the ending, I highly recommend BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP. It would make a great vacation book and I think it appeals to all types of readers. I love that it has universal appeal to both men and women. The book rights have already been sold to more than thirty counties and the movie rights have been sold to none other than Ridley Scott. I cannot wait to see this one the big screen because I have a feeling that it will be amazing!
As an aside, has anyone else out there noticed how many books have story lines dealing with amnesia right now? I've read four in just the past few weeks.
Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing a copy of this novel. You can see the entire list of blogs participating in the tour here; and you can find the Before I Go to Sleep Facebook page here.