Saturday, 31 March 2012

Book Review: 'Before I Go To Sleep' by S. J Watson

Before I Go To Sleep
by S.J Watson

Published: 28th April, 2011
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Thriller
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368

Cover Art

Although the covers aren't what I'd usually like (colourful things or SHINY) I think they represent the book well and are simply done which is good for a thriller. I picked this up because I just felt like reading a good thriller which is what the cover promised. The cover on the left is my least favourite because I think it makes the book look more light hearted than it actually is and a bit 'holiday read'. The cover in the middle is the one I have and, like I said, I think it does its job well. The cover on the right; I wasn't too keen on it but when I finished the book I looked at it again and realised how creepy and sinister it is and how you can't see the eyes of the woman because of the water droplets on the it!

Plot Synopsis

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...' 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 only be telling you half the story. 

Welcome to Christine's life.
My Rating:
First Lines:
'The bedroom is strange. Unfamiliar. I don't know where I am, how I came to be here. I don't know how I'm going to get home.'


This book is '50 First Dates' crossed with 'What Lies Beneath'. I could not put it down- it was insanely addictive. But. It is one of those books where you expect a huge, earth-shattering climax that keeps you guessing throughout and not trusting anyone or anything you read and spurring you on to the end when you will finally feel satisfied. But, like a quickie in the stationary cupboard, the climax never really lives up to the anticipation. Over too quickly and not quite hitting the spot- that sums this book up for me. I enjoyed the foreplay but it never quite delivers.

The writing is good. I have to say though that, at times, I felt as though I was reading a YA novel...which I don't think this was supposed to be. It is very simplistic and a lot, A LOT, of questions are asked by the protagonist to get the plot moving. You know, things like 'Why would they lie to me?...'Was a really just paranoid?...'How do I know who I am if I have no memories?' This book is full of that. I find it a little lazy and overused and it got quite annoying towards the end. Still, this is much less cheesy than your average thriller, and it really does make you want to keep reading and keep reading until it's three in the morning and your eyes ache. Extremely engrossing and, style slips aside, it does do it's job very nicely.

Towards the end it does get your heart beating. I rally cared about the protagonist, Christine. She is thoughtful and honest and doesn't feel sorry for herself for the whole novel. She is quite together really considering what she goes through. I felt grief for her, I felt frightened for her and, most of all, I really imagined myself in her position. How would I feel about a man I woke up to everyday who said he had loved me for 22 years but who I couldn't remember? See, she even got me asking questions like her. At the end of the novel it says the author based it on true life cases (even though the drama is made up) hinting that real people exist with similar conditions. I wonder how they cope. 

It is the ultimate nightmare situation: there are no ghosts, ghouls, axe wielding, chainsaw wielding sex-crazed psychopaths with Scream masks on: there is only your own brain which has turned against you. The human brain; it is all we are, it the sum of our experience and our identity and if it starts to malfunction who are you? The simplicity of using the mind as the bad guy is brilliant and I think that the author manages to do this well-used concept justice by portraying really well the nightmare that unfolds when your paranoia kicks in bu your brain can't back it up.

Overall I would say that this book is something you'll get addicted to and enjoy while it lasts but you probably won't remember it and you'll probably leave it a little disappointed.

Other Thoughts

This Book has Inspired me to Read: 'Splinter' by Sebastian Fitzec.

Three Words to Describe this Book: Fast-Paced. Psychological. Forgettable.


  1. I know what you mean about this one. I was really expecting some cataclysmic climax and it was sort The author does a good job of building the suspense, so it was disappointing.

    Nice review :)

  2. Just finished reading this on your recommendation, Amanda, and I'd say damn good call... for the most part. Before I Go To Sleep really impressed me till the last chapter, wherein there was that dodgy reveal - I won't spoil it for everyone else - and I've come away feeling so deflated, because the rest of this thriller debut was incredible.

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