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Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel by S. J.…

Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel (original 2011; edition 2011)

by S. J. Watson

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3,3923011,596 (3.74)1 / 164
Title:Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel
Authors:S. J. Watson
Info:HarperCollins ebooks (2011), Kindle edition, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson (2011)


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English (282)  Dutch (10)  French (4)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (300)
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)
Excellent, suspenseful, twist at the end; couldn't put it down! ( )
  cindyb29 | Jan 12, 2015 |
Before I Go To Sleep is the story of Christine, a woman who has both anterograde amnesia, which is the ability to create new memories and retrograde amnesia, which is the ability to recall one’s past. Because of this, every morning she starts over, her mind a blank slate. She wakes up not knowing where she is and who she is. Her husband must explain it to her every day – that she had an accident that left her with amnesia, he is her husband, etc.

Christine starts working with a doctor who wants to help reverse her amnesia. The therapy mostly involves her keeping a journal of what happens to her every day and then reading it every morning to fill herself in on who she is and what she’s been doing. Her husband doesn’t approve of her being in therapy so she must do this in secret. Along the way, she discovers some secrets herself.

I’ll admit that enjoying this book requires some suspension of disbelief. It’s told in first person from Christine’s view point so the narrative of the book is her journal entries. Her journal entries are much more descriptive and detailed than you’d expect but the fact that she was a writer before the accident explains some of that. And it would be a pretty awful book to read if the journal entries weren’t written well. I thought this was the best device to use so that the story could be told in first person. It helped me identify with Christine’s confusion. I was really confused too. In fact, I was surprised at how many twists were in this book. Several times I thought I had everything figured out but I never actually did.

I loved this book – it kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it, going over everything in my mind, trying to figure the mysteries out. A movie adaptation of Before I Go To Sleep was recently released, starring Nicole Kidman. I’m interested to see how this story translates to the screen. I think it would be very hard to do. I definitely recommend the novel. ( )
  mcelhra | Jan 4, 2015 |
Imagine if 50 first dates was a thriller and not a rom-com, and you get the idea for this book. I was meant to only read a chapter and go to bed, but I almost finished the book sitting on the bathroom floor reading...........just until the next chapter. I couldn't read the words fast enough when I was getting to the end. No, it's not exactly a believable situation, and yep the concept, amnesia, has been done before, but I didn't find it a fault. I liked that the story and her past was unfolding to me at the same time as she was making the same discoveries. Loved it, just what a good thriller should do, drag you through full of anticipation til the end. ( )
  Karyn_Ainsworth | Dec 29, 2014 |
Amnesia can be a tempting topic/hook, and not every writer can pull it off smoothly, but Before I Go to Sleep is pretty convincing. Christine wakes up with no memory of the past 20 years - but apparently, this is nothing new. Her husband Ben - who she doesn't recognize - fills her in on the basics, but it's not until she receives a phone call from Dr. Nash, reminding her about her journal in the closet, that she begins to be able to make an account of each day. She's a partially unreliable narrator in this way: readers can pretty much trust what's in the journal (which makes up the large middle section of the book), but other than the journal Christine can't rely on her memory. Sometimes she gets flashes, but are these memories or imaginings?

There are additional hints about paranoia and confabulation, but Christine seems quite sane. She catches Ben lying to her, but he explains that he is trying to protect her, which she accepts. It's not until Dr. Nash takes her to her old house and an institution where she once lived, and her old best friend Claire re-enters her life, that more memories return and her suspicion of Ben begins to grow. I guessed the twist a little before it was revealed, but not too far in advance; overall it was a good suspenseful read.


"...the memories aren't lost completely. The problem is not one of storage but of access."
"You mean my memories are there, I just can't get to them?"
(Dr. Nash and Christine, 69)

...I carry these jagged shards of memory with me always, everywhere, like tiny bombs, and at any moment one might pierce the surface and force me to go through the pain as if for the first time... (124)

What are we, if not an accumulation of our memories? (155)

"...patients with amnesia such as yours often have a tendency to do something we call confabulation. Things around them do not seem to make sense, and so they feel compelled to invent details." (Dr. Wilson to Christine, 188)

"It's not life, it's just an existence, jumping from one moment to the next with no idea of the past, and no plan for the future." (Christine to Dr. Nash, 194)

"If we tell ourselves often enough that something happened, we start to believe it, and then we can actually remember it." (Dr. Nash to Christine, 206)

There is only so much that a mind can take... (212)

All the history I have reads like fiction. (219)

A refusal to provide an answer, disguised as an answer itself. I wonder if this is what he is always like. I wonder if years of telling me the same thing have worn him down, bored him to the point where he can no longer bring himself to tell me anything. (287) ( )
  JennyArch | Dec 27, 2014 |
What a disturbing sensational debut. A great book for discussion at your book club. As I was reading, I had thought of jotting clues down for discussion. I would recommend that you do not have anything planned that you need to do for when a writer makes you pay attention to detail for clues are in-itself grounds for a great page-turner read. If you could possibly stand the Thrill & Chill, this is an evilious read. Don't forget your loved ones. Or else. ( )
  Buttonholed | Dec 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 282 (next | show all)
What if you woke up every morning, confused and lost? What if the body you woke up in was not the body you remember going to sleep in? What if you were oblivious to the events of the last 30 years of your life? Memories are what define all of us as people. But when you wake up, tangled in lies, visions and fleeting images of memories that seem to dark and fiction to seem real, how do you make sense of that?

Welcome to the life of Christine Lucas, a middle aged woman suffering from extreme amnesia, who has no memory of what happened in her life for her past 30 years. When she sleeps, her memory melts away, like snow on a spring day.

The highly acclaimed, internationally best seller is truly a suspenseful, interesting and gripping book that will keep you entertained for all 356 pages of it. For lovers of Mysteries, this is a must read book, and I highly recommend it to everybody.
added by davidboot | editEnglish 9, David Boot (Jan 28, 2013)
What if you woke up every morning, confused and lost, and unfamiliar with your own reflection in the mirror? What would you do when you wake up, tangled in lies, visions and fleeting images of memories that seem to dark and fiction to seem real?

Welcome to the life of Christine Lucas, a victim of an unsettling accident leaving her unable to retain memories for longer than 24 hours. When she sleeps, her memory melts away, like snow on a spring day. Keeping a diary of her daily events, she fits the pieces of her life puzzle together; she reaches a disturbing conclusion.

The Journal style format of this book creates a truly unique style of writing, one that truly pulls you into the struggles of Christine’s daily life. The narration gives the reader a striking insight into the daily battle of discovering her identity. However, the style of daily journal entries can make the book slow at parts, but much like a roller coaster, it is all simply preparation for the plunge of excitement.

For lovers of mysteries and psychological thrillers, this is a must read book. However, I still highly recommend it to everybody. The sudden flashbacks, the distorted images and the faint impression that things are not at all what they seem. This book will make you rethink all of your unclear memories; it will keep you extremely entertained.

added by davidboot | editEnglish 9, David Boot (Jan 27, 2013)
The ending feels hurried; a sentimental postscript to the meticulously plotted main event. But these are minor gripes. Before I Go to Sleep is an enjoyable and impressive first novel. Like the best of its thematic predecessors, it is also an affecting moral allegory: don't forget your loved ones. Or else.
The most unnerving aspect of Before I Go to Sleep is the way it is rooted in the domestic, the suburban, the trivial. Forget whizz-bang futurism: it proceeds from ordinary life in tiny, terrifying steps, and is all the better for it.
Watson’s pitch-perfect writing propels the story to a frenzied climax that will haunt readers long after they’ve closed the cover on this remarkable book.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Mar 1, 2011)
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I was born tomorrow
today I live
yesterday killed me

For my mother, and for Nicholas
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The bedroom is strange.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love — all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Every day Christine wakes up not knowing where she is. Her memories disappear every time she falls asleep. Her husband, Ben, is a stranger to her, and he's obligated to explain their life together on a daily basis — all the result of a mysterious accident that made Christine an amnesiac.

With the encouragement of her doctor, Christine starts a journal to help jog her memory every day. One morning, she opens it and sees that she's written three unexpected and terrifying words: "Don't trust Ben." Suddenly everything her husband has told her falls under suspicion.

What kind of accident caused her condition? Who can she trust? Why is Ben lying to her? And, for the reader: Can Christine’s story be trusted?

Haiku summary
To Christine, each day
Is a blank page. Who can she
Trust? Can we trust her?

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An amnesiac attempts to reconstruct her past by keeping a journal and discovers the dangerous inconsistencies in the stories of her husband and her secret doctor.

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2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921758155, 1921758988

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