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Before I Go to Sleep
Before I Go to Sleep
Author: S. J. Watson
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.
ISBN-13: 9780062060563
ISBN-10: 0062060562
Publication Date: 2/7/2012
Pages: 368
Edition: Reprint
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 112 ratings
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

esjro avatar reviewed Before I Go to Sleep on + 690 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
Best thriller I have read for ages! The book is based on a similar concept to Memento, but the way in which the author tells the story (in the form of diary entries by the protagonist) is very clever. Very suspenseful!
bookaddicted avatar reviewed Before I Go to Sleep on + 125 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I read an ARC of this debut novel and was totally drawn in to the story. Told through a journal, the novel details Christine Lucas's attempts to recapture her memories lost each night when she goes to sleep. For twenty years after an event puts her into a coma she loses her memories each day, awakening to an almost blank slate. Daily she has to be told who she is, how much times has passed and what has taken place in all the missing years. A harrowing tale because the reader doesn't know (along with Christine) what is real and what isn't. Is she having a break-through?
Is her husband always telling her the truth? Is the doctor she secretly sees helping her or does he have his own agenda?

The tension builds to a surprise ending that makes it so you can't turn the pages fast enough.

Hope this author has more great stories to get on paper.
reviewed Before I Go to Sleep on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy suspense..., April 1, 2011

This was an entertaining thriller with an interesting middle-aged heroine. Christine Lucas wakes every morning without any memories -- she remembers nothing of her childhood, young college days, married life, or even the mundane details of yesterday that preceded her going to bed the night before today. Some sort of calamitous event has caused her to not only have amnesia, but the inability to form any new short term memories as well. Each day dawns and finds her uncertain as to who she is or how she came to be in the house she shares now with a man who claims to be her husband, Ben. As the story starts, Christine is jarred by a ringing phone. The caller is Dr. Ed Nash and he claims he is trying to help her discover her past while also admitting that he's going to do a research study of her case. He encourages her to write in a journal each day, recording the events and thoughts she has. They both hope that this exercise will help Christine recover her history and lead her to understand her situation and experience some kind of life in the present. It's during the course of this activity that Christine begins to have flashes of what she believes are people and events in the years leading to the current time -- the problem is that she can never be quite sure if she is actually rediscovering her own memories or confabulating - making up a history to replace what she doesn't really remember. As she writes in her journal, Christine also discovers that Ben seems to be lying to her -- is he trying to protect her from feeling the pangs of loss and the pain of not being present in her past? Or is it something more sinister? And who really is Dr. Nash and why doesn't he want Ben to know that he's treating her?

The narrative moves along, unfolding with deliberate pacing as the tension builds to a somewhat anticipated climax as Christine is pulled inexorably to the ultimate revelations. The conclusion is somewhat unsatisfying and not completely unpredictable, but I do read a lot of books of this type and made some accurate guesses. That's not to say the book isn't enjoyable, it is -- and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a well written and suspenseful mystery. I look forward to the film adaptation as well.
reviewed Before I Go to Sleep on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
A suspenseful thriller with a very interesting premise. It is about a woman with amnesia due to some head trauma. The kicker is every day she starts anew because, she can hold onto memory only for for a day and then becomes a blank slate again after a night's sleep. She depends on her husband each morning, who she usually doesn't recognize, to fill her in on important life details each day. A nice young doctor is also of assistance....but who can she really trust? No one seems to be telling her the whole truth of what exactly happened to her. There are so many holes in what information she is given and she doesn't even trust herself because her memory is so faulty. Keeping a journal is helpful and she refers to it daily but some of the things she is told by people who she should be able to trust, just don't add up. This book is a real page turner and I highly recommend it.
reviewed Before I Go to Sleep on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I liked this book a lot. It wasn't fluff and predictable. I would recommend it.
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reviewed Before I Go to Sleep on + 29 more book reviews
I like memory stories. Our memories are strange and we rely on them so much. I was looking forward to a feeling in this novel that expresses the confusion and horror of not remembering, day after day. I didn't get that.

Christine suffered a trauma that left her without her memory. Over time she regained enough so that she could remember events during an awake time, suggesting that she was capable of using her long-term memory. But then she would go to sleep and wake up not knowing where she'd been for the last 20 years.

But she began to put some things together, thanks to the help from a head doctor she started seeing without telling anyone else. She would wake in the morning, frantic, wondering who she was sleeping with, then later, when she was alone again, get a phone call from the doc. He would explain that she had a journal hidden and she could read up and write more. Through this journal (the bulk of the book) she records each day's events and revelations.

It's a good way to tell the story. I had difficulty with how it seemed that by reading previous entries Christine remembered those events. When we know she didn't, really. The journal gets quite long, too, and I wondered how she read so much every morning. And what was her husband thinking that she did during the day? It was a mystery to me that he would leave her with nothing to do at all except once or twice ask her to pack a suitcase or wash something.

In time, Christine's memory gets jogged by this or that and she notices inconsistencies in what she has been told. Who is lying?

In the end, it is a good plot, I felt, although strange. I just didn't get a real psychological buildup from it.


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