My book review of 'Before I Go To Sleep' by S J Watson

Before I Go To Sleep

by S J Watson
Before I Go To Sleep
by S J Watson

Christine Lucas wakes up each morning not knowing who she is. The room is unfamiliar and she is sharing a bed with a man she has never met before. Each morning she walks into the bathroom to view photographs pinned alongside a mirror informing her of a past life with friends and family she no longer recognises.

She is told by the man who says he is her husband, that the trauma she suffered from a car accident twenty years ago has caused her memory loss, and that there is no cure.

But we meet Christine as she is contacted by a doctor keen to investigate her case. He wants to experiment with treatment to try and undo the damage to her mind. He encourages her to keep a journal detailing all she learns each day. As she does so, she uncovers startling and terrifying truths.

I knew nothing about this book when I picked it up. It had been recommended widely though I hadn't seemed to have picked up any details about its content. I hadn't been drawn to it. It had a horrible cover - even the text of the title was unappealing. I had been asked by a customer for it early on and mistakenly thought they wanted a children's book ('Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep'!). Then a friend read it and raved about it. She lent me the book and needed it back quickly because she wanted to pass it on, so I forced myself to pick it up. Once started I couldn't put it down. Everything was on hold, even sleep, as I kept turning the pages. The pace and progression of the plot is beautifully pitched. There is a danger of repetition, and labouring the point, but the author provides just enough content to mix with the sense of horror of living the same day over and over again. And, as it becomes more evident that there is a sinister element to Christine's life, the reader is compelled to keep reading all the time speculating on what is really happening.

It is a brilliant book (though I think I spotted two or three errors in the plot), and leaves you feeling rather shell-shocked!

Review date: January 2012