Before I Go to Sleep is an emotionally painful, gripping thriller that swallows the reader whole.
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Before picking up Before I Go to Sleep, I had not heard of the novel before, let alone the movie that is based on it. This created a blind reading experience for me, which intensified my enjoyment of the novel. Before I Go to Sleep is one of those novels that you have to be very wary of spoilers, which can be difficult when it is a bestseller and book discussion is easily accessible when going online. However, if you don’t know very much about Before I Go to Sleep, or have never heard of it, then, by all means, go pick it up now and allow it to swallow you whole the way that it did me. But if you have heard various reviews of the novel or know of its twists and turns, then it may not be worth reading for you.
Before I Go to Sleep is a novel about a woman named Christine who has amnesia. Each morning when she wakes up, she forgets the events of the day before and the memory of who she is. However, with the help of a psychiatrist, she keeps a journal that she rediscovers each day so that when she wakes up she can read it and gain some remembrance of her life. She lives with her husband, Ben, who shares with her that she was hit by a car and lost her memory through the accident. Ben takes care of Christine and reminds her of the events of her life, but as the novel continues, Christine begins to realize that Ben is keeping secrets from her. She begins to remember certain elements of her accident, and as she gains more of her memory back, Ben begins to show his true colors.
Christine is an unreliable narrator, and each chapter begins the next time she wakes up. The novel is slow at times due to the repetitive event of Christine waking up and reading through her journal in each chapter, but S.J. Watson shortens the event over time which increases the reading value. Towards the end of the novel, I began to predict the ending of the story, but Watson writes in a way that makes you question the events when new information arises so you aren’t 100% sure of what is going to happen.
Before I Go to Sleep is a quick, thrilling read that is emotionally gripping and triggering at the same time. While the story was not exactly realistic, it was entertaining, and I found it to be a valuable addition to the thriller genre.