Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep
ashley | I picked up Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson because again, I wanted to read the book before I hear too much about the movie. I also have read a ton of great reviews for this book and it sounded like an interesting premise. Imagine waking up each morning not knowing where you are, who you are, or remembering anything about your life. The only person you can trust is the stranger you share a bed with, but how can you be certain he’s telling you the truth? This is a nightmare. This was one of the scariest books I have ever read, it sent my anxiety skyrocketing. How do you not go mad? Oh yeah, you don’t remember!
Dealing with memory loss, there’s bound to be a lot of holes, a lot of back story that needs to be unraveled and secrets to be uncovered. I find when that is the case, stories can end up moving pretty slowly and get bogged down with the details. Watson does a really good job at keeping things interesting during all of this, dangling conflicting details right from the beginning, so from the very start I knew there was more to everything than what I was being given. It’s not just a journey of a woman trying to reclaim her memories, but a story of a woman trying to sort through lies for the truth, which adds a whole other level of interest for me.
This was quite a roller coaster ride, not just for Christine, but for the reader. There were so many secrets and lies that Christine had to uncover, it was mind boggling how all of this could actually be happening, it was unclear what was real and who could be trusted. As confused as Christine was, I was just as confused, racking my mind to try and hold tightly to the information at hand, not quite being able to put it all together. And while I definitely picked up on certain truths early on and was confident that I knew what was happening, Watson threw so many curve balls that by the end, it didn’t even matter if I had any inkling about what was happening, the whole thing came bursting into the open so vibrantly and loudly, I loved it.
I also loved how Watson described Christine’s process of figuring things out, the comparisons and descriptions about her feelings and fears seem really spot on, what I would imagine myself if I were in that situation. And all of this recollection is discovered by reading a journal that Christine had been keeping. Sometimes I really hate this structure, reading journals or letters to uncover the key plot points, but it worked incredibly well in this book.
Is ignorance bliss? Would it be better, easier, to just forget all the loss and pain? How important is knowing the truth? Christine put it tragically beautiful: “This is like dying every day. Over and over.”
With so many loose ends and white lies, this could have been a real mess, but Before I Go To Sleep is actually a really clever, smart and impressive debut. Books like this make me so excited to read and write about. This actually kind of reminded me a bit of Gone Girl, but without the deep darkness, and I really loved that. I want to tell you every little twist and turn; but I will save that for you to discover on your own.