Before I Go To Sleep – S J Watson

“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.”

I was in Waterstones about 4 months ago when I idly picked this book up and flicked through. It wasn’t my usual genre so I put it down and walked away – but I couldn’t get the first few pages out of my head. Despite its bulky size and different genre, I bought it. I’m so glad I did – Before I Go To Sleep is a gripping read and one I’m glad I didn’t miss (even if it did end up on my reading pile for 4 months before I got time to pick it up).

The book is comprised of Christine’s diary entries, which she starts writing after she starts seeing a doctor – Dr Nash – in private. For some reason she can’t fathom or remember, she cannot bring herself to tell her husband Ben about their meetings. Every morning, she wakes up, reads her diary (with reminders from Dr. Nash) and relives her life again. But as she starts to learn more, she starts to remember more. And as she starts to remember more, something doesn’t seem right…

Flashbacks from Christine’s past and the incident that caused her amnesia start to trouble her daily and she is trying harder and harder to make sense of it all. With the only recurrent characters, Ben and Dr. Nash, telling her different things she starts to suspect that things may be not quite what they seem…

A compelling read with a surprising twist at the end, Before I Go To Sleep will have you racing towards the last page. S J Watson ably conveys Christine’s loneliness and bewilderment at the isolating condition that holds her prisoner, and the diary format that I usually find too one-dimensional to enjoy a book in worked perfectly. A chilling debut novel from a very promising author.

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