Before I Go to Sleep: S J Watson

A friend lent me this book, hoping to get my opinion on it. I will admit I didn’t start it until yesterday I got through the whole story in one car journey, from York to back home in Devon. This book tells the story of Christine Lucas, a woman suffering from an extreme case of amnesia, which leaves her unable to remember anything from her life after the age of 20. She wakes up everyday unable to remember anything prior, leaving her husband Ben to explain the whole of her life up to that point. Living a life that has to be related to her every morning when she wakes raises questions of who she is able to trust.

S.J. Watson is a relatively new author. Before I Go to Sleep was his first book and published in 2011. It was recently made into a film by Rowan Joffe which stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. I haven’t seen it, but in my researching for this review I found a trailer and it looks chilling.

I think I benefited best from reading this book in one hit. Sitting down and dedicating time to it really allowed the tension to build, I don’t know whether that would translate if the reading was spread over several sittings. I found myself unable to put the damn thing down, finding myself irritated by the stops at service stations.

The only thing I would possibly fault is the ending. I say the only thing, the ending of a novel should leave you partially stunned and a tad numb. I think that’s the mark of a good book – something that punches you so hard in the nose you’re left speechless. I felt Watson’s ending to be slightly lacking, a little bit rushed and too tidy. But, with a novel that twists and turns as this one does there are very few other ways in which it could have been ended.

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