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Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson
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Before I Go To Sleep (original 2011; edition 2012)

by S J Watson

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3,5893311,471 (3.74)1 / 182
Chris wakes up every morning not knowing who she is. Psychological thriller. Went on a bit to long and saw ending coming. ( )
  Mumineurope | Apr 19, 2012 |
English (312)  Dutch (10)  French (4)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (331)
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This novel is the story of Christine, a woman suffering from a form of amnesia that prevents her from forming any new memories. She remembers what happens in a single day, but each night, when she goes to sleep, her entire memory is swept clean of everything that happened that day. She wakes up in bed next to a man who explains, day after day, that he is her husband and that she has lost her memory due to a hit and run accident many years earlier. She has some occasional flashes of memory and when they begin to contradict what her husband is telling her, the mystery begins.
This book was on some list of the Best of 2011. I am not sure I would consider it one of the best, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It was a page turner that at times made me scared as I was reading.
( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
I couldn't put this one down & didn't guess the ending...which is rare for me. It's not the most beautifully written story but it kept me guessing so it gets 4 stars. ( )
  PiperUp | Aug 14, 2015 |
A nice quick thriller. 3.5 stars. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Christine does not remember most of her life. Every morning she wakes up next to a stranger who tells her he is her husband, Ben. Every day he explains to he that she has amnesia. And every night, when she sleeps, she forgets everything that happened that day, too. But then, at the urging of a doctor, she begins to keep a secret journal that provides her with an artificial memory of recent days. And sometime during those days, she's scrawled "Don't trust Ben" in the front of the journal.

It's a fantastic setup for novel, the kind that promises creepy, slowly revealed secrets and deep emotional tension. Plus, the cover is plastered with blurbs praising how heart-stopping and nerve-jangling and page-turning it is. So I went into it looking to have my heart stopped and my nerves jangled, and such, and... it kind of didn't happen.

The writing isn't great, but that wasn't really the problem. None of the big, surprising twists felt all that surprising, but I don't think that's the problem, either. The problem is that none of it felt real to me. And I don't mean the fact that amnesia just doesn't work that way. I was actually OK with that, after a line from a doctor about Christine's condition not fitting our current understanding of memory convinced me that the author wasn't proceeding from ignorance, but instead knowingly fudging the medical facts for the sake of the story. I was willing to go with that. It was everything else that bugged me. Stuff like the fact that Christine's doctor seems to have no patients but her to worry about and is free to spend big chunks of his work day dropping by her house and taking her on memory-jogging field trips.

But the biggest problem was Christine herself. She just never felt emotionally believable to me as someone going through the things she's going through. She talks a lot about her thoughts and feelings, but it all feels sort of... hollow. I'm not sure I ever really believed there was a person in there. And without any deep sense of empathy for her, I was more irritated by her than concerned about her. Which made it kind of hard for my nerves to get tingly for her. ( )
1 vote bragan | Jul 28, 2015 |
Every morning Christine awakens with limited memories of her life.Sometimes she awakens thinking she is but a little girl in her childhood bedroom, other times maybe she's a teen. Sometimes she may see a man standing in her room and expect when he turns around she'll recognize her father. However the man in her room is always a stranger, and when she looks at herself in the mirror, she sees what she thinks is an old woman instead of a young girl.

Christine suffers from a rare form of amnesia, causing her to lose her memory while she sleeps at night (think Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates). She awakens in the morning not knowing the man who sleeps beside her, or how she aged decades, or what has transpired during those decades.

Christine keeps a journal hidden away, documenting what happens each day, what she learns of her past. Then one day she takes out her journal and it warns her not to trust her husband. Now she begins to question everything. Who can be trusted? Are these people who they say they are?

My final word: I made a prediction on the second page of the story regarding how I thought it would end, and it turned out that I was essentially correct. However even though I knew where the book was going and my final destination, I kept reading to find out what kind of trip the author would take me on to get me there. It was interesting. Not fantastic writing, complex characters or breathtaking suspense, but an enjoyable enough fast read. ( )
  nfmgirl2 | Jul 23, 2015 |
Christine Lucas wakes up every morning with no memory of what happened yesterday, or the day before, or in many of the previous years of her life. When she sleeps her memory is virtually erased. Keeping a diary helps. She leaves a note to herself to read the diary, and then every morning after the shock of looking in the mirror and seeing someone so much older than she is looking back, she reads the words written in her own handwriting. She manages to cope from day to day with the loving help of Ben, her devoted husband. Imagine her shock when she opens her diary one day and reads the words … “DON’T TRUST BEN”.

Although this scenario has been explored in other books and movies, in every style from comedy to thriller this book absolutely holds its own. Christine’s pain is tangible to the reader and we follow Christine side-by-side and step-by-step as she begins to unravel the mystery of her own diary. It’s hard to say any more without posting a spoiler alert at the top of the review. Before I Go To Sleep is well worth the reading time if you want to find out any more. I loved this book and would definitely list it among my favorite reads of 2011.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Nice suspense thriller with a good plot twist. Lot's of people here are saying that they saw it coming from "way before". But I didn't. I feel satisfied with the plot overall and the ending too. Yes there were some plot loopholes no doubt but hey, most stories have a loophole. So I couldn't care much about the loophole. Overall awesome suspense this book! I was truly gripped into it. ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
I adore this book. It had sat on my bookshelf for ages, not something I ever thought I'd actually pick up and read, until a friend of mine spotted it and started raving about it. So I picked it up and literally couldnt put it down again. This is the book I will hold accountable for my regained love of reading. It is amazing.

I will say here that losing my memory is one of my biggest fears, and this book did absolutely nothing to make that fear any better.

It is a thriller in the truest sense of the word, the whole time you know somethings not quite right, you feel it in the pit of your stomach that something must be terribly wrong, but I for one didnt work it out until just before the reveal.

The protagonist's vulnerability means you become quite protective over her as you read, and that adds to the unnerving sense of something being off. You fear for her, you want everything to work out and for her to have her happy ending and of course to be cured. I've not known a book in so long to have me screaming at the pages, wanting her to listen "Don't go to sleep! Don't do it!"

The ending is satisfying, and open, so you can believe what you want about what happened to the characters.

Fantastic book. Five stars. ( )
  chimocho | Jul 7, 2015 |
Good book! The ending was not at All what I expected. Really good! ( )
  gail616 | Jun 26, 2015 |
Christine suffers from forms of amnesia and so, every time she goes to sleep at night, she loses her memory both of that day and of the last 20-30 years. Her husband, Ben, has to explain her life to her every morning. She is contacted by a doctor who suggests she records each day in a journal and she gradually begins to recover certain memories and to wonder why Ben only tells her, e.g. that she had a son, if she remembers it first.

I found the basic premise and the first third completely gripping. The middle third dragged a bit and then I began to put pieces together, although I didn't work out everything. A hopeful ending. It would make a good film. ( )
  pgchuis | Jun 25, 2015 |
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP a strong debut by S. J. Watson--a psychological haunting suspense of one woman’s confused mind, a debilitating illness----leaving her vulnerable, alone, and frightened--unsure whom she can trust.

Based in London, Christina awakens not knowing the stranger in her bed. Ben of course, tries to comfort, assuring her they have been married for over twenty years. She discovers she has amnesia and unable to remember past events or retain new memories. Basically when she falls asleep, all her memories are gone. Zap!

She is seeing a therapist, who has encouraged her to write in her journal, similar to patients with Alzheimer’s or other brain disorders, in order to try and remember her thoughts or actions. However, she reads her words, “Do not trust Ben.” She begins to question herself and everyone around her. Where are her friends? Why is Ben so controlling and protective? Is Ben the enemy or is someone else? An affair possibly, or maybe her therapist? What caused this condition? She desperately tries to remember, as she feels she is in danger. Can she trust her therapist and is someone out to get her?

OK, several things here: I am reading (listening to the audiobook, narrated by Orlagh Cassidy, after having read S.J. Watson’s second book, The Second Life 6/5/2015. I liked the second a little better, but neither blew away--both drag; and not a huge fan of the narrator.

Also the reason for the lower rating, I just finished reading TURN OF MIND by Alice LaPlante,(surgeon/dementia/murder) THE BOOKSELLER by Cynthia Swanson (confused mind in between two lives); Paul Cleave’s TRUST NO ONE 5 Stars + (crime writer, Alzheimer’s), Lisa Genova’s STILL ALICE (professor, Alzheimer’s), and Maggie Barbieri’s ONCE UPON A LIE (retired cop, father, Alzheimer’s). Both Cleave and Barbieri add quite a bit of wit and humor, mixed with murder. Highly recommend, this list.

Before I Go to Sleep did not come close to the quality of the above; even though he does offer a nice twist; however, takes too long to arrive.

I am so in love with the Author's website design! ( )
  JudithDCollins | Jun 23, 2015 |
Months after finishing this I am still wondering about the lives of the characters after the story ended. The "villain" of the book is truly creepy and psychologically abusive. I anticipated the resolution but loved the story anyway. ( )
  kellyn | Jun 19, 2015 |
3.5

Me siento contusa con respecto al libro en su totalidad .

Por un lado , me enganchó desde el principio , en ningún momento me resultó aburrido y la trama en si me pareció bastante original (originalmente como Memento , al menos ) . Incluso en los últimos capítulos me tenia tan atrapada que no podía parar de leer hasta descubrir la resolución ...

Y sin embargo ,

cuando todo estuvo terminado , me quedo la sensación de que algo le falto para ser realmente una novela de suspenso realmente buena .

Entiendo que todos los finales son decepcionantes , que los desarrollos siempre parecen prometer mas de lo que cumplen - pero , aún así , aun conociendo los defectos usuales del genero , aún así seguía esperando mucho mas que el final dado ; alguna sorpresa , un poco mas de comprensión hacia las acciones de cada uno - mas que nada , en el ultimo capitulo , donde el final se da en explicaciones apuradas y de modo casi totalmente carente de emoción real .


Vale la pena leerlo a pesar de sus fallas . Es entretenido y mucho mas profundo que la mayoría de los thillers den género . No es acción x acción ni suspenso x suspenso nada mas : los personajes son interesantes (aunque algunos bidimensionales o meros vehículos de la trama) y cada capitulo es emocionante . ( )
  LaMala | Jun 7, 2015 |
Interesting novel. I was strolling for a while through the bookshop, using my preferred method of selecting a new book: reading the first two paragraphs. :-) Before I Go To Sleep immediately grabbed my attention, and I wanted to read on. So I bought it.

I was very much entertained with the story, and never stopped trying to figure out what was going on. When finally the plot came to an end, at first I was disappointed that I got it right... but how incomplete my solution to the mystery was! Watson really left me sitting still for a while after finishing the last page, pondering over things like memories, life and love. I like that.

Well worth the read. Good thriller. ( )
  bbbart | May 30, 2015 |
This is good. Nicely told, suspenseful, quite a few misdirections to keep you guessing. The most entertaining book I've read in a while. ( )
  etrainer | May 15, 2015 |
Well I can honestly say that I really enjoyed reading this book and it had me hooked.
I had to find out what was going on. It had me guessing as to who the 'baddie' was so-to-speak right up until the end and I too like alot of people, i suppose, guessed wrong. I can also see why some people would not have liked it because the ending did in some ways seem a little too convenient,but I was not expecting it to turn out how it did. Even as I was reading it I kept changing my mind as to what had / was happening with her life and who if anyone she could trust.
I really made me think how awful it must be for someone to be in the same situation that this woman was in and also how much worse it must be for the loved ones around that person who have to live with it every day whilst the person with the actual affliction starts afresh every single day (which may actually be a blessing for them) ( )
  WWDG | May 6, 2015 |
I guess the premise of this novel is widely known by now, but in a nutshell the narrator Christine wakes up every day with no idea who she is, having suffered a trauma some years before that affected her memory. Everything she learns during the day, she promptly forgets overnight. I had a computer like that once, and it was mighty annoying, but this is probably some way worse.

It must have been a challenge to write. Like Kate Atkinson's "Life after Life", there is a necessary element of repetitiveness about it, and I wondered how the author would deal with it. In the first chapter, we follow Christine as she wakes up, no idea where she is, and via a diary (that she initially doesn't know she has been keeping) finds out what is going on. Subsequently the waking up and being disoriented bit is dropped, to be assumed by the reader. As it should be, but as Christine reads her diary she feels less like the person who woke up with no memory, and more like someone who remembers everything. It was always going to work out that way, but it was hard to keep in mind that every day was like an individual lifetime to her. On the other hand, the author skilfully points out the implications of this medical condition that are not immediately obvious - the way it would be compounded by illness and infirmity. Having such a condition on the day of one's death. It was grim stuff.

Whatever my misgivings about some bits of it (and one passage towards the end about who had whose telephone number and who couldn't get in touch with who nearly made me lose the will to live), this is a story that demands to be read to the end, and has a good twist that some will guess, but I didn't. ( )
  jayne_charles | May 4, 2015 |
You can read the synopsis for yourself, so I won't reiterate. I will say that this is a page turner! Not a book you can read while part of your brain is on vacation, so if you're looking for one of those, keep looking. This is a very thoughtful and complex story that requires you to pay attention to details--I love books like this! There are clues dropped throughout that will help the reader to figure out what is going on, but again, if you speed through, you will miss them completely. ( )
  ClarissaJohal | Apr 25, 2015 |
Good thriller. ( )
  INorris | Apr 20, 2015 |
This book is a fast paced thriller with not much emphasis on the thriller. I found it very difficult to put down but I found that it really only classifies as a thriller towards the very end.
I can't even imagine how life for Christine. How you wake up every single day the same, thinking you are in your 20's with your whole life ahead of you and then with no idea who you are or who anyone else is, where you are, and with no memories of your life. I found it so sad that her whole life was stolen, she couldn't remember anything that happened. Her life was so alone, she had no parents, no friends, because what's the point of hanging out with people you won't remember the next day. And day after day her husband would tell her again and again, the events of her life.
After she starts keeping a journal, she finds so many discrepancies with what her husband is telling her from day to day. One story of her life one day can totally change the next time Ben tells it. And what happened to Adam? What event robbed her of everything?
While reading it, I am mentally telling Christine not to ever tell Ben about the journal or the things she's discovered as I just didn't trust him at all. She's so confused with all the lies she's been told, can she trust Ben, or Claire or dr Nash?
I did find the book a little repetitious which really can't be helped since every day for Christine is like "Groundhog Day" with the same thing over and over but sometimes it seemed the same thing was happening and there wasn't a lot of change in the events.
I had a few suspicions and this book had me flying through to the conclusion, I had to know. And as the end came, I still felt sad for Christine, and all she had lost that she can't ever regain.
But thriller or mystery or whatever, still a great book. I am curious to see the movie, I can see Colin Firth in the earlier portion of the book but I cannot picture him as the Ben of later in the book. ( )
  maggie1961 | Apr 4, 2015 |
No memory of previous day after sleep ( )
  keithgordonvernon | Apr 1, 2015 |
I started this book in December. Since then I have read 6 other books and
watched 3 seasons of House of Cards. IF this does not hint at dissatisfaction
with the read I don't know what does!
Continuing to read this book has been like a forced march through a slog of
redundancy!
I kept reading on as 3 out of 4 in my reading circle raved about it. If I did not
know better I would say that busy,little elves were re-typing this story each night
after I put it down and lacking imagination kept on writing the same stuff over and
over and over again!
I am no stranger to the damsel in distress,psychological thrillers having read many
over the course of the years. I was so disinterested in what was really going on
with this boring character and her equally appearing to be,long suffering husband
that I wasted no mental energy in trying to figure out what the heck was going on.
Then my first thought was to throw the book across the room as I said to myself
"all this for that plot twist"? What a waste of my time.
So I am going back to another amnesia story,Stella Bain. Some did not like this book
but Anita Shreve is a far,far better writer with her excellent but sparse prose......nary
a word wasted! ( )
1 vote MEENIEREADS | Mar 13, 2015 |
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson is one suspense thriller I could not set down. Each time I tried, or thought I could,. I realized I needed to know just a little bit more and so one and before I knew it the day was gone. I highly recommend Before I Go To Sleep to anyone who enjoys a well written suspenseful thriller. ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Feb 25, 2015 |
A wonderful book that shows us how much it costs to loose ones memory on a small window daily and rediscover her lost years. ( )
  durgaprsd04 | Feb 25, 2015 |
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