'Before I Go to Sleep' by S. J. Watson

Staff recommendations

Before I Go to Sleep bookcoverBefore I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson grabs the reader's interest immediately but then, progresses very slowly. It doesn't matter though, because the author is establishing the plot, day by day, bit by bit, building up momentum until finally, crashing into an explosive ending.

The story is about Christine, a woman who wakes up in bed beside a stranger without any memory of him but discovers that they have been married more than 20 years, or so he says.  The last thing Christine remembers is she is 29 years old but now she has the face and body of a middle-aged woman.  Why can't she remember anything?  She discovers that she has two cell phones; and one is to be kept secret from her husband, or so her doctor tells her.  Dr. Nash calls every day on one of the cell phones and tells her where to find her journal.  He tells her to make sure to write in it every day so she can read about herself, but not to tell her husband.

 Every time something implausible happens, it is explained and the reader is satisfied that yes, that seems likely.  Also, the author has expert knowledge about people with memory loss and uses it.  My only problem was with the cell phones; they were kept in Christine's purse and apparently never needed charging, but the whole story takes place over the course of a couple of weeks, so again, it is possible.

This book is a good, fast read and if you enjoyed movies like Memento, 50 First Dates, and most recently Remember Sunday, you will enjoy reading Before I Go to Sleep.

-- Hanife Conry