Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson.

Previously, I've seen this book reviewed on other blogger pages and on Amazon. The reviews showed mixed opinions.But on seeing it for a meagre £1.50 in a local charity shop, I thought I would give it a go.

Before I go to Sleep follows Christine on her daily journey to regain a handle on who she is, as well as trying to confront the shadows of her past that come back to haunt her every day. Christine has been suffering from amnesia for twenty years. Every day she wakes up and doesn't know where she is, or even sometimes who she is. She needs to be told every detail upon waking. Today she gets a phone call which starts todays journey into the life that she doesn't know she has lived.

This book deals with very interesting ideas, such as the nature of memory, grief, betrayal, paranoia, love, fear, trust, ambitions and losses. It deals with every emotion imaginable. In one book with less than 400 pages this is quite a feat.

Image from Wikipedia
There should really be a warning that comes with it though, as there is some content which is quite shocking, that I was not expecting to read about in this book. It is not a book I would recommend to everybody as some paragraphs are quite disturbing for the average reader. This is definitely for adults, preferably not overly sensitive ones, as some topics covered may upset some readers.

Despite this, it is a wonderfully powerful book. Hard hitting and well written. On the cover of the version I own it describes Before I go to Sleep as 'unsettling'. I think this is exactly the perfect word to describe it. Of course, it being a book about amnesia some of the content is repeated and mulled over a few times, but I think this only contributes to the feeling of utter confusion and distrust apparent in the book. Other reader might be put off by the repetition though.

I barely knew that it was a thriller when reading it, until it hit me full in the face. It feels much more of a slow terror rising inside you. S.J. Watson is a good writer, but not amazing. However, Watson is very good at holding the reader at arms length, supposedly letting you in on secrets, but still having more to reveal. And that's the way I like it.

I am awarding it 4 out of 5 stars, as I am not sure it is for everyone, but for most it is a book that would be an insightful, and intriguing read.
S.J. Watson Website.
Richard and Judy Book Club Reviews. - scroll down to see more reader reviews.

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