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Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
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Apr 10, 2016

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bookshelves: fiction, mystery-thrillers, 2010s-fiction
Read from January 21 to 22, 2012

A woman who perpetually lives in the present - or at least the last 12-24 hours: Each time Christine, a middle-aged amnesiac, goes to sleep her slate is wiped clean, and when she wakes up, she has to be re-introduced to everything that has happened to her since a traumatic event about 20 years ago. Each morning she wakes up not recognizing her own body, the man in bed next to her, and the house she is in. Utterly confused and helpless, she goes through proscribed rituals, structuring it all around her husband, and "secret" visits with her neurologist.

Christine's state is extremely vulnerable. The reader feels deeply for her, but also the people around her who constantly have to tell her who they are, and what their connection is. She starts to journal on her doctor's request, and each day, he calls to tell her who he is and where to find the notebook. She reads what she has previously written each day, gaining some idea of who she is and what has happened the days before. ...but inconsistencies crop up. Are people lying or is she just paranoid? Things are "off" and she can see that something is not right. Are people trying to protect and guard her from painful memories? She wants to get better - to remember - but receives little encouragement from her partner Ben, and even her doctor seems to be hiding things... Every once in awhile, she will have a memory flash, usually something deep-seated and disturbing, that she records in her journal and re-lives the next day. With each day, she begins to piece together the events that lead up to her traumatic accident.

The first-person narrative is strong, and Christine's character is fully dimensional. A great debut for this new author.

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Reading Progress

01/21 page 90
04/10 marked as: read

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