Tuesday, December 20, 2011
REVIEW: Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Summary: Christine Lucas wakes in a strange room, with a strange man beside her. He wears a wedding band, and she is disgusted with herself for apparently sleeping with a married man. But catching sight of herself in the bathroom mirror, Christine discovers that she is not the carefree twenty-something she believed herself to be. She's clearly in her forties—and she also wears a wedding band. Unfamiliar photos are pinned to the bathroom mirror, and a note proclaims that the man in the bed is her husband, Ben. Christine has amnesia. Every night when she goes to sleep, she loses all memory of the her life past a certain point.
Her life is very narrow. Just Ben, and a psychiatrist whom Christine meets without Ben's knowledge. At the direction of her doctor, she keeps a journal to document her life and piece together the past—and hopefully—a future. However, day by day, her journal entries become increasingly unsettling and Christine begins she wonder if she can trust anyone—including herself.
This book has appeared on numerous Best of 2011 lists, and it won the Crime Writers Association's 2011 award for best first book. I can understand why. It reminded me of Cat Patrick's Forgotten, but with a creepier flavor, like the the movie Memento. Watson's writing is compelling, creating an increasingly tense, claustrophobic feeling in the reader. I read this book in one evening, and although I guessed the book's twist ending early on, I was never fully confident in my theory, just as Christine could never fully trust her own memory and instincts.