Book Review: ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ by S.J. Watson

Book Title: Before I Go to Sleep

Author: S.J. Watson

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Summary: Christine wakes up in an unfamiliar room next to an unfamiliar man; it is when she looks in the mirror and realises she is unfamiliar to herself that she discovers the room is her own bedroom, shared with her husband – the man sleeping beside her – and this morning confusion takes place every day. Christine has amnesia and wakes every morning thinking she is still single and in her twenties. Without her memories, she relies on her husband to fill in the years lost to her memory. It is through Dr. Nash and a hidden journal, however, that she tries to piece together the memories her husband isn’t sharing.

Favourite Scene: I loved the opening scene – right from the beginning you simply become Christine.

Favourite Character: Dr. Nash. I appreciate his efforts and his integrity when it comes to how he treats and nurtures Christine.

Review: I stupidly opened this book one night with the intention of reading “just a few chapters” before going to bed. Around 1am I put it down and let out a long breath. Regardless of the fact that I found it predictable and simplistic in its overall form, it was a damn good read. It drew me in right from the start and didn’t let me go until the final page – there is a lot to be said for a style of writing, quality of characters, and intriguing plot that can keep you so thoroughly engrossed you don’t notice the passage of time.

Psychological Thrillers aren’t the usual books sitting on my bedside table, but I’d read a lot about this one and will admit to having high expectations when I picked it up. I wasn’t disappointed when it came to having a book that I could easily read while tuning out the rest of the world. The writing is fluid and the use of the diary to tell the bulk of the narrative made me feel the same confusion of memory that Christine felt. Like Christine, I found myself trying to remember what she had been told and what she had read in the diary – and what she had rightfully remembered all on her own. The unreliability of Christine as a narrator is perfectly presented, because I found myself to be an unreliable reader – so caught up in her story that I couldn’t even remember things on her behalf.

I highly recommend this book when it comes to wanting a good read and easy entertainment!

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10 comments on “Book Review: ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ by S.J. Watson

  1. Hard to believe it’s a debut novel, SJ Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep has garnered star reviewed from Kirkus and Booklist and was in development to be adapted into a movie before the book was even released. And though I’ve read some excellent books this year, I haven’t come across a novel that would appeal to so many readers. This book has all the makings of an absolute block buster.
    And then the story is told through Christine’s journal offering the readers an over the shoulder roller coaster ride as Christine tries to determine what has happened to her, and who if anyone she can trust. The dread mounts until the book’s messy conclusion. Because it’s so well plotted to say Watson’s story is “gripping” is an understatement, it is simply breathtaking. It’s a hell of a book, and is sure to be a hell of a movie.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the book! It was an easy and captivating read which I appreciate in a novel these days! I’m curious as to how the movie will turn out, especially with the play on memory present in the novel; I’m guessing Memento-style or something similar. We’ll see!

  2. There have been so many books that I’ve either bought (but not yet read) or written down on my Wish List to buy, that you’ve then reviewed on your blog. It’s getting spooky!

    I quite enjoy psychological thrillers, so I was looking forward to this one. I’m glad to know it’s worth-it!

    • Haha, that IS spooky! I swear it wasn’t me creeping under your window last night … But did I spy “A Different Sky” by Meira Chand on your “to read” pile when I wasn’t passing by? Because I’m reviewing it next week … :-p

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