Before I Go to Sleep, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (10 ratings)


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.




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Showing 1 - 5 of 10 reviews.

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I definitely liked this book - but not as much as I expected to when I eagerly pre-ordered it in January. I think this was mostly because of the word 'thriller' emblazoned across it; for me that conjures expectations of a taut, suspenseful page-turner, when in fact it was more of a slow-burning literary novel that just happened to have a crime driving it forwards. It was a great book, just not in the way I expected when I started reading, and I think that dented my overall enjoyment somewhat.It opens as Christine wakes up. She has no idea where she is or who is lying beside her. Fumbling her way to the bathroom, she is horrified to find a fifty-something woman staring back at her in the mirror. Around her reflection are photos that she has no recollection of posing for, and the man in her bed introduces himself as her husband Ben. Before he goes to work he explains that she had an accident and now has amnesia, waking up every morning unable to remember where she is, sometimes feeling like a twenty-something woman, sometimes even feeling like she is still a child. A little while later Christine gets a call from her doctor, who meets her for coffee and hands her a journal that she has been writing for the past few weeks. Back home she opens it and is confronted by a scrawl across the front page: 'Do not trust Ben.' She reads on, determined to piece together her history... Who is telling her the truth, and who is lying - and why?Much of the book is made up of this journal, which is simultaneously a great device and a slightly irritating one. It contributes quite heavily towards the slower pace of the novel, because Christine repeats herself so much, particularly earlier on. You could argue that this is made necessary by the subject matter - she has amnesia, after all - but as a reader I admit I found it a little dull at times. At the same time, it did mean that as each piece of the puzzle fell into place, it had quite an impact. Like Christine, I had to read between the lines as the daily entries built up, trying to work out how her returning memories fit together, who she could trust and what might really have happened to her. It was a good mental workout!I'd certainly say that this is a thought-provoking novel. It really makes you think about how an individual's identity and sense of self is tied to memory, to a personal history filled with experiences and people and places, and how bewildering it would be to have to start afresh every day. There are little moments scattered through the book that really hammer home how carefully Watson must have had to consider each and every page, and how impossible a linear narrative would have been without the journal. Christine doesn't know about 9/11 and the war on terror, for example. She's never seen a mobile phone before, has no knowledge of her own middle-aged body, and has no real feeling of love for Ben because to all intents and purposes, she's meeting him for the first time each morning. This would be a great novel for a book club, because there's just so much potential for discussion - in fact, there are a set of questions at the end of the book for that purpose. I'd definitely recommend it - just don't make the mistake of expecting a fast and frenetic read like I did!

Review by

After weeks of not being able to get into any books I finally found something to keep my gripped til the very end! The best book I've read for ages. I got slightly confused in places as to whether it was journal or current life but I think this was more down to the e-book version which wasn't always consistent in its lay-out. The book kept me in suspense throughout, the characters were believable and although I smugly guessed some parts of the ending from early on it didn't ruin the book and there was still a big twist that I definitely didn't see coming!

Review by

The story is about Christine who suffers from such an extreme amnesia that she has no memories of her past every time she wakes up. The terrifying nature of this illness is well described, for example waking up with a stranger in your bed, whom you only later find out is your husband. The tension is increased further when, by means of a daily journal that Christine secretly keeps, she finds she cannot trust her husband. The tension is eased a bit when she finds out there is a reasonable explanation for her husband’s behaviour. But then she discovers something new which again causes her to mistrust her husband again, only to later find another explanation. Much of the book describes these swings between suspicion and trust.Although I found out a bit more about Christine’s past life every time she woke up, I did find the middle part of the book a little slow and a bit repetitive as Christine’s feelings on waking up are described. Up to about four fifths of the book I would have described it as good but not very good. But in the last fifth of the book events take a different turn and the tension really ratchets up and it gets quite scary. The ending is very good and takes the book from four to five star standard.

Review by

A woman has lost her memory and has to rediscover herself each day. I remember a few years ago seeing a documentary following a choir-master with the same terrible condition. He had to be reintroduced to his wife every few hours, but could remember how to conduct a choir. The wife deserved a sainthood.So I found this novel original, and not surprised there were suggested questions in the back of my copy for book club groups.

Review by

I liked the idea that Christine wakes up each morning not knowing who she is. However, I did not like the book that much; it was an ok read, but didn't live up to my expectations. I find it hard to believe anyone (at least a woman) would spend so much time and effort thinking about sex when there are certainly more important things to contemplate. If she only has one day to catch up in her previous life, why spend half a day wondering if she wants to sleep with her husband or not? I don't know if Christine was a bit stupid or if it was the style of writing that made her feel that, but I really found her more and more annoying as the story went on.I certainly wouldn't call this a thriller, as it only felt like one after 2/3 of the book and the 1/3 in the end could be seen coming miles away. I don't regret reading the book, but in case I hadn't I must say I wouldn't be sorry.

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