Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson

A review of the psychological thriller mystery novel Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson.

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The protagonist of Before I Go to Sleep is Christine, who is suffering from a near-total lack of short-term memory; every morning, she wakes up to find she is no longer in her late-twenties, but is now wife to Ben—the man who claims to share her bed. She gets strange calls from a doctor who asks her to check the journal in her wardrobe, and she struggles to know who to trust.

This was S J Watson’s first novel, and became an international bestseller while winning the Crime Writers’ Association Award for Best Debut Novel and the Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year.

For me, a thriller needs to be street-smart and fast-moving to capture my attention; this was certainly smart and moved quicker the further the book went along, but I actually liked the slower start as it helped me understand the confusion of Christine’s amnesia and allowed me to get inside her head.

Amnesia is at the heart of this story, but isn’t the singular theme; Watson tackles issues of marriage, infidelity, domestic violence, a sense of identity, age, motherhood, and on and on.

Christine is both believable and memorable. The pain and frustration of her amnesia is dealt with sensitively; she’s vulnerable, yes, but only because of the intolerable situation in having to rely on other people to fill in the blanks in her memory.

There are a few minor plot holes that I found myself contemplating, but they were minor—I loved the story, and it captured my interest.

Thanet-based author Matthew has three novels published by Inspired Quill, is an inveterate blogger, and writing is his passion.

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