Book review: Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson

The Blurb:

“‘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. Welcome to Christine’s life.”


What I thought:

In an interview I did with author Sophie Hannah a few months ago, I asked her what book she wished she had written and her answer was Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson, due out at the end of April. Already excited by the praise indeed by Sophie Hannah, I then noticed that on the front cover there is an endorsement by Tess Gerritsen (who will also be doing an interview here soon – arrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!, but I digress) so I immediately knew I had to get my mitts on a copy and wasvery kindly sent one by the publishers.

The synopsis sounds great doesn’t it? A woman wakes every morning not knowing who she is, where she is, how she got there, and who the man beside her in bed is: somewhat reminiscent of my student days, but again I digress….Can you even begin to imagine what it would feel like to find photos of yourself, smiling into the camera,  with people you don’t even recognise and looking 20 years older than you thought you were. That’s what happens to Christine – every day.

Christine lives with her husband Ben who, every day, has to tell her that she lost her memory in an accident back in the late ’80’s. She has no recollection of anything. On the day the book opens she receives a phone call from somone called Dr Nash who tells her he has been working with her to help her retrive her memory and that she has been keeping a journal for a few weeks, which he now has. She agrees to meet Dr Nash and when she opens her journal, there on the front page in her own handwriting are the words “DON’T TRUST BEN!”

This book is a pyschological thriller and one with a great plot line. We know that something isn’t quite right from the beginning but as we are no more clued up than Christine (whose story we continue to follow via the diary entries) we only know what she knows.

For a debut novel, I thought this was a really well crafted thriller and definitely a page-turner. Towards the end I did start to tire of the should-she-or-shouldn’t-she-trust-Ben thing (the story seemed a little padded out with much of the same thing for a time) but ultimately it does come good. To be honest, I did suspect something right from the start and I’m proud to say that my little grey cells didn’t let me down and I guessed right, but to be honest that didn’t take away from any of the build up as it wasn’t revealed fully until the end what had been going on: I still thought the revelation packed enough punch for a satisfying ending.

Great book, great plot, needed tightening a little but overall I would definitely recommend this book.

Before I Go to Sleep is out in the UK from today. Will you be reading it?

(source: I received my copy for review from Doubleday)


19 thoughts on “Book review: Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson

  1. I do hope to read it. I asked for a review copy, so with a bit of luck, I’ll get it soon. I also think the blurb sounded great and since you seem to have liked it a lot, I expect to enjoy it too.


  2. Oh! I like the sound of this. I’ve been looking for good thrillers, and come up short every time, but I’m definitely going to add this to the list, and hopefully, it’ll find its way to my shelf soon.

    I’ve not read any Tess Gerritsen yet, although it does seem like high praise from two very well-known writers of thrillers. Thanks for the review.


  3. I’ve seen so many excellent reviews of this that I am going to have to get a copy. I’m not actually a Gerritsen fan, but I do like Sophie Hannah’s work. I shall have to hope Watson is more like the latter than the former.


  4. I really, really, really want to read this book, so does Polly of Novel Insights, so am very jealous that you have read it already. It just sounds soooo good and indeed the Gerristen and Hannah recommendations (how weird we have both interviewed them for our blogs Boof) have sold it to me, now your review has furthered that.


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