Heidi Ward's Reviews > Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
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Mar 28, 12

bookshelves: library, psychological, 21st-century, suspense-thriller, madness-and-mental-health, identity
Read from March 25 to 28, 2012

"Memento" with more journaling and fewer tattoo needles. Kidding, sort of.

Watson's debut novel is a solid psychological thriller that kept me guessing, and kept me up late finishing it. To say more about the twists and turns than the book blurb does would constitute spoilers, but the narrator Christine's total amnesia, and the ways in which disturbing memories of her past begin to slip in by increments as she writes the details of her daily struggle, make for a taut and tantalizing narrative.

It's not a perfect book -- at least one major plot element will demand a HUGE suspension of disbelief -- but Watson's prose is quite effective in evoking the terror and dislocation Chrissy endures each morning upon waking to a blank slate. All told, Before I Go to Sleep is a creepy and intense read, and certainly better written than your standard pulp thriller. I'll give it 3.75 for the plot; 4.25 for the writing.

(That being said, I have read two books in the last month in which the narrator has to piece her own identity -- and the cause of her amnesia -- together from her handwritten notes. Gotta say The Rook was way more inventive, if not nearly as serious.)
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03/25/2012 page 100
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