Jeanette's Reviews > Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
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I can overlook a lot of bogus-tude for a good story, but this one exceeded my implausibility tolerance threshold. The analytical portion of my brain wants to give this an even lower rating, but it did hold my interest, so I have to be fair. It has a sinister edge that keeps you reading---at least until you start figuring everything out long before it's revealed.

If I listed all the laughable incongruities and convenient coincidences, I'd ruin it for people who just want an absorbing escape read. If you're capable of turning off the eye-rolling, "hey, no way!" part of your mind, you'll probably love it.
S.J. Watson, I wince in your general direction. I scoff at your predictability. But hey, 'gratties on the movie option.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 11, 2011 – Finished Reading
August 12, 2011 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-50 of 53 (53 new)


Sherri I must have been in the right mood - or able to suspend my belief - because I really enjoyed the novel. Perhaps because the premise was something different. And, for whatever reason, I totally did not expect the ending. :)


Jeanette Sherri, I have often noticed that you are better than I am at suspending disbelief. I was better at just a few years ago, but my left brain seems to be taking over. ACK! :0


Sherri :) Isn't it really ironic then, that I trashed a non-fiction book - The Dressmaker of Khair Khana - because I absolutely couldn't believe that the events occurred as the author depicted. Or maybe that isn't so much ironic, but a sign that I might have a very confused brain! :)


message 4: by Jeanette (last edited Aug 15, 2011 12:42PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jeanette Ah, I should have said you're better at suspending disbelief when it comes to NOVELS. Important distinction. Critical thinking skills are very important when it comes to nonfiction, and I know from your participation on some CLBB political discussion threads that your skills in that regard are sharp. I've seen other reviews trashing that Dressmaker book. Sometimes I wonder if publishers and editors even verify information before putting some of these "nonfiction" works out there as truth.


message 5: by Linty (new)

Linty Helpful review. I've had my eye on this book for a few weeks. I shall wait for it to come out in PB I think...


Jeanette Definitely wait for paperback, or just get on your library waiting list.


message 7: by Linty (new)

Linty I shall heed your wise words of wisdom-thanks.

Do you use an ereader? Kindle, etc.?


Jeanette Linty wrote: "Do you use an ereader? Kindle, etc.?"

Nope. I like a book I can flip through, hold in my hands, pull from the bookcase... Never say never, but so far I haven't felt the need or desire for an e-reader. What about you?


message 9: by Linty (new)

Linty I'm the same. I wouldn't even use a kindle if one was given to me. The whole reading experience(the things you mentioned, and, can I add book smell?) can only be had-for me-by real books. I hope it doesn't come to the point where I will be forced to get an ereader. Me will NOT be happy a camper then. Enjoy your day:))


message 10: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Davis Re: Before I Go to Sleep. I like your review but I'm not sure that a novel needs to be plausible especially if it is nothing more than escapist entertainment.


Jeanette Sue, I agree, and for me it's hard to tell where the line will be drawn in my mind. I think I can take implausible as long as it's complex and unpredictable. For example, The Likeness, which you and I both loved. You know right from the start that it's utterly implausible, but the complexity and unanswered questions are enough to carry your interest.


message 12: by Sue (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sue Davis Yes, I agree completely and that complexity is sadly lacking in before I go to sleep. Other Weapons, by Luisa Valenzuela, has an interesting story with the same title that you might like.


Heidi Ditto this review. You captured my thoughts perfectly.


Shawn Agreed! I started an "incongruity" in the discussion area!


Jeanette It has been long enough now since I read it that I've forgotten the incongruities. I should have kept notes, because some of them were pretty laughable.


Mariacarras I feel exactly the same way. I was thoroughly gripped, despite the repetitiveness, throughout most of the book until I reached the third act which I saw coming a mile away.


Jeanette Yep, it gets lame. But dang, I wish I could write something this bad that could generate that kind of dough! I'm stunned at the popularity.


message 18: by Sibel (new) - rated it 1 star

Sibel I have to admit that it didn't quite hold my interest, but I have a weird form of OCD when it comes to novels - once I start one I HAVE to finish it. It's sad really! Anyway, loved your review.


Jeanette Sibel wrote: "I have to admit that it didn't quite hold my interest, but I have a weird form of OCD when it comes to novels - once I start one I HAVE to finish it. It's sad really! Anyway, loved your review."

Sibel, Your profile is private, so I can't see how old you are. If you're young, I predict that you'll give up some of that obsession about finishing novels when you get into your 40s, maybe even earlier. At some point, you realize you don't have eternity to read every book that sounds interesting, so you have to drop the bad ones.


Stephanie Jeanette wrote: "Sibel wrote: "I have to admit that it didn't quite hold my interest, but I have a weird form of OCD when it comes to novels - once I start one I HAVE to finish it. It's sad really! Anyway, loved yo..."

Just wanted to add that I have the same type of OCD, and I am actually in my mid-thirties. However, I find I am more picky about the books I read, both in wanting to ensure I'll enjoy them before starting them, and also to try to make sure I'm in the right mood before I read them. I'm a mood reader, which does probably affect my ratings by a star. Sometimes I'm more in the mood for a well-written book that resonates after I read it, and other times I just want a fast-paced good story that I can soak up and then forget about. I was in the latter mood when I read the book in question here, so I actually really enjoyed it. But I definitely see your point.


Jeanette Stephanie, I'm a mood reader, too, which is why I've learned not to completely give up on some books. I just try them again in a few months or years.
As far as books like this one, the plausibility issue often just depends on the author. Some can make me buy it, and make me enjoy being "duped," and others just go to far for my mind to accept.


message 22: by Chip (new) - rated it 2 stars

Chip Have to agree. It, unfortunately, just didn't hang together - although I did sit and read it all afternoon to finish it, despite that. For example {SPOILER} how did Dr. Nash find her to start meeting with her?


Jeanette Chip, It has been too long since I read it for me to even remember a possible answer to your question. As you will soon find out, the book and characters are pretty forgettable.


Claire Couldn't have put this better myself ... the 'big twist' at the end was guessed within the first 4 chapters...the only reason I read on was that I expected a lot more. Very disappointing : (


message 25: by Chip (last edited Apr 27, 2012 09:13AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Chip It was an example of how the plot line doesn't remotely hold together, not a question to which I expected an answer.


message 26: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val we share the same opinion and your review is like mine. 3 stars and I'm still surprised I gave it that many.


Leslie This has Sandra BUllock written allllll over it.


Jeanette Oh, she *would* be good! I just recently saw her in Ya-Ya Sisterhood, so I'd have to get that image out of my head first.


Bettie There was a lot of 'inflate' doing the rounds on this one, however sense seems to have prevailed, at least in my reading arena.


Beccy Courtney I agree with everything that you have said about this book


message 31: by Mike (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike Shaw I'm sorry but you guys are way off about this book, one person here went so far as to say that she guessed the story plot/ending in 4 chapters, who's writing the fiction here? In books, movies and television, you are required to suspend a certain amount of belief. But this book, especially for a debut effort, is pretty outstanding. Just saying.


ilovebakedgoods (Teresa) Hmmm, I think I may give this one a go. We'll see if I'm in a "suspend my disbelief" phase enough when I start! It'll be awhile, lots of others to read first.


message 33: by Ed (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed i completely agree with your review. what a crappy ending too...


message 34: by Mary (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mary Jeanette (Most of My Favorite Authors Are Dead) wrote: "Linty wrote: "Do you use an ereader? Kindle, etc.?"

Nope. I like a book I can flip through, hold in my hands, pull from the bookcase... Never say never, but so far I haven't felt the need or desir..."


Sherri aka SDMomChef wrote: "I must have been in the right mood - or able to suspend my belief - because I really enjoyed the novel. Perhaps because the premise was something different. And, for whatever reason, I totally di..."

I thought that too now I actually prefer my Kindle but I still refuse to spend more than 2.99 this book was on sale for 2.99,


message 35: by Mary (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mary Exactly how I felt really everybody loved this woman so much but no one checked how she was doing?


message 36: by Gino (last edited Jul 23, 2014 08:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gino Williams I am almost at the end of reading "Before I Go To Sleep" and I must say that in the opening chapter, I immediately thought of a movie I saw years ago called "Memento." While I liked the novel because there was a bit of mystery in the direction it was going, I couldn't shake the notion that the plot was done like "Memento" but chronologically. It will be interesting to see what happens at the end, as I'm almost there, but I have a feeling I know the outcome. It's "escape" reading.


Kathy Well said. I felt that the basic premise was unrealistic, so that affected my ability to suspend disbelief. However, after reading the little epilogue that mentions two people who apparently suffered from a similar form of amnesia, I will say that perhaps I am just not completely informed on this subject. I'd like to find out if the character's particular type of amnesia really does occur in real life. That said, I can mildly recommend the book to friends as a fun summer read, with that one caveat.


Janina Asciuto MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY!!


message 39: by Joyce (new)

Joyce I want to read it because I did have a TBI and had amnesia and bad headaches that had me dependant on others for "the truth" the premise intrigues me. While my amnesia didn't last long on the one hand, I had weird bits of forgetting for several years afterward and never talked to the Dr. about it


message 40: by Tanvi (new)

Tanvi how is this book


message 41: by Joyce (new)

Joyce Mary wrote: "Exactly how I felt really everybody loved this woman so much but no one checked how she was doing?"

Interesting comment as I still don't understand why my family didn't check on me either!


Kadia Porter i love the book and I agree with everything


message 43: by Akhil (new)

Akhil Patial Guys, I need help. I want to know how to get the full book. It's only a few lines.


message 44: by eloong (new)

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Allison You so accurately described what I could not. Thank you.


Phoebe Yes! Triple yes! You captured my thoughts exactly.


Cherish This form of amnesia does exist more or less. There is a boy in the news right now who was similarly afflicted just for a shorter period.


message 48: by Marcia (new)

Marcia King Totally agree with your review. Book entirely too predictable, except maybe the penultimate scene but by then I was bored and couldn't wait to finish.


Susan Did it bug anyone else that the phones never seemed to need charging???


Amanda Very well put.


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