before i go to sleep

The first book I read on my vacation in Hawaii last week was Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson, bought as an ebook on sale a few months ago. I heard it was going to be released as a film next month, so I thought now would be a good time to finally read it! From Goodreads:

“As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me…”

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 be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine’s life.

I’m a little shocked I got through it on vacation—I usually NEVER read when visiting family. But Before I Go to Sleep was a real page-turner, an excellent psychological thriller that I couldn’t stop thinking about between reading sessions. Christine’s confusion and fear are palpable, you really root for her all the way through. By the end I couldn’t put the book down—I had to know what was going to happen. She’s both a reliable and unreliable narrator, if you can be both at the same time! Gotta say, I also liked that the protagonist is a middle-aged woman. I’m sure it’s not uncommon, but I don’t seem to personally encounter it much in the books I read, for some reason.

I think this premise could have been tough to pull off, but Watson does a great job maintaining believability and suspense throughout. There are a lot of questions, twists and turns here—it reminded me of the 2000 film Memento and reading Gone Girl a couple of years ago. Maybe I’m gullible but the twist ending totally got me. I can see Before I Go to Sleep translating well to film. I definitely recommend for fans of neo-noir and psychological thrillers, and even if you’re not usually a reader of those genres (like me, although I’m starting to get into them more) it’s an accessible and compelling story.

Read from August 13 to 20, 2014.

4 thoughts on “before i go to sleep

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