Katelyn’s Book Shelf: Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
You are what you remember. So what if you lost everything you remember every night when you go to sleep? Depending only on the stories you are told about what your life once was. What if those stories of the past are only half the truth since it’s easier to rewrite the past? This is everyday life for Christine Lucas in the novel Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson. In this psychological thriller, an incident leaves Christine Lucas with a rare form of amnesia that leaves her unable to form new memories and remember most of the past. Christine lives in London with her husband, Ben, when she starts to discover the stories she is being told about her past don’t match up.
In the book, the main character, Christine Lucas, keeps a journal to record her everyday life in order to refresh her memory. For me personally, this made the book even more enjoyable, because I usually like books written in a journal or letter format. The journal format made me even more attached to Christine, as a character, since you experience all her thoughts and struggles. This also made me sympathize with Christine even more. My only concern going into this book was that it would become very repetitive. I was fearful the main character would write down information the reader already knows in every journal entry. Thankfully, the author, S.J. Watson did a fantastic job of avoiding this and making every journal entry fresh and interesting.
An interesting aspect of this book is that since Christine has amnesia, she is somewhat of an unreliable narrator. The reader can only depend on what she is writing in her journal. If she leaves anything important out while writing, the reader will never know and she would never remember. At first, the book didn’t grasp my attention and the story started out slow. Once you get past this, the story really starts to pick up, leaving the reader unable to put the book down.
While reading this book, the reader is constantly wondering who is telling Christine the truth and whom she should trust. Some readers might find this frustrating, but I personally thought this made the book even more interesting. Throughout the book, I kept changing my mind on who I thought was trustworthy. Not knowing whom to trust makes the reader constantly guessing till the end.
A very interesting part of this story was seeing Christine struggle trying to put her life back together every day and find her identity. A particular struggle of Christine’s was being married to a man she couldn’t remember day to day. The readers see’s Christine trying very hard to love her husband, Ben, since she knows she once did. This story made me feel sympathy not only for Christine, the one with amnesia, but especially for her husband Ben.
Before I Go to Sleep was overall exceptional, with S.J. Watson creating a completely original story. Not being capable of putting down this book, I have given Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson a five out of five stars.
I would recommend this story to any readers interested in the human mind, mysteries, and thrillers. A quick warning to people interested in reading this book: while Christine shares a similar medical condition to Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates, the subject matter in Before I Go to Sleep is more heavy. On the Internet, I spotted a few people that went into this book with the expectation that the two story lines would be similar and were disappointed. Overall, this book will not disappoint!
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