Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep

Sharon Long, a member of the Crime & Beyond Book Club in Denver, CO, is with us today to review Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson. 

Before I Go To Sleep is the debut novel of author S.J. Watson. It opens with a woman named Christine waking up in a strange bed with a strange man. She is alarmed thinking did I have a one night stand? Who is this man? Christine goes into the bathroom and is shocked when she looks in the mirror at the older face looking back at her.  In her mind, she is in her 20's not the 40-year old woman with wrinkles, whom she sees. Christine realizes there are pictures around the mirror of her and the man in bed and assumes she must know him. This is the way every day begins for Christine.  She had an accident several years ago which left her with brain damage and severe amnesia. In fact, every night when she goes to sleep she forgets everything. Every morning her husband, Ben, has to remind her of who she is, who he is, etc.
We find out that Christine is secretly seeing Dr. Nash who is trying to help her remember. He has suggested she write down things in a journal and hide it from Ben. Dr. Nash calls her every day to tell her where the journal is and to read it.  This is where both Christine and the reader learn a little of her past day by day. As the story progresses, Christine becomes increasing frustrated, confused and distrustful of first Ben, then Dr. Nash and back and forth. S.J. Watson does an incredible job of making the reader feel all of those same emotions.  
Through the journal reading, Christine learns more and more about her past and the people in it.  She reads and starts to remember about a close friend Claire whom she contacts and sets up a meeting.  With about 100 pages left in the book, Christine and Claire meet and both Christine and the reader begin to realize what has happened and is happening. From then on, the story moves quickly to a very satisfying and enjoyable end.
I do not want to give much away as the joy in this book involves both Chris and the reader figuring out her past and present. The book is extremely well written, fast paced and a definite do not miss. I highly recommend this amazing debut novel. I was extremely surprised to find out that S.J. is a man as he captures the emotions of a woman extremely well.

Before I Go To Sleep was also made into a movie released in late 2014 with Nicole Kidman starring as Christine. I personally always read the book first and then see the movie. I am curious to see if the movie captures the tormented mind and feelings of Christine the way the author and the book did. I am happy to say that S.J. Watson has a new book, Second Life, which is due out June 9, 2015.  As a new fan, I will definitely read his second book.

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