Sunday, January 6, 2013

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

Memory is a fickle thing. As I get older, I find that I can remember the smallest, most trivial things from my past, but I can't remember where I've left my keys. Imagine if you woke up each morning, forgetting even those trivial things from the past, in fact, forgetting your past entirely. This is the premise of S.J. Watson's thriller, Before I Go To Sleep.

Christine Lucas wakes up in a room she doesn't remember, with a man she does not know. She goes into the bathroom and sees a face twenty years older than it should be, in a mirror surrounded by pictures of herself and the man in the bed. That man patiently explains to her that he is her husband, that they've been married for twenty two years, and that she's had an accident and has lost her memory. And this happens every single morning of her life.  When a cell phone rings in her bag, and a man calling himself Dr. Nash tells her to look for her journal hidden away in her closet, the following few weeks become a game of To Tell The Truth. She oscillates between trusting and then questioning the intentions of the man she is living with, knowing he is intentionally lying to her.  Not knowing which way to turn, and having to re-read her hidden journal to unravel her life story every single day when she wakes up, she begins to catch glimpses of the life she wants back, no matter what the cost.

The author keeps us in the dark the same way Christine is. We unravel her story by reading her journal entries, and as the story progresses, we don't know whom to trust either. As a story telling device, it's a very effective, and I was thankful I was reading on a Kindle so I couldn't read the ending first. The characters we think we know, we really don't, and just like Christine, as she wakes up every morning, we turn the page not knowing where the story came from nor where it's going. If you like a good thriller and psychological drama wrapped up in one, then this is it. I usually don't read this genre, but it was recommended to me, so I'm passing it along. Excellent book, a quick page turner that will keep you guessing pretty much to the end.

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