Monday, 8 October 2012

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson (3/5)

The back says: '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.

I say: A few pages into this I had a sneaking suspicion that I had read it before, or seen a movie with the same plot. It was really unnerving because I knew what was going to happen before it did.

Or maybe the plot was just that predictable.

I like the premise of the novel, and the execution was well-done, but because it didn’t offer any elements of surprise for me, it was kind of boring. Even if Christine had lost all of her memories, I’m not sure I bought her level of helplessness. Nor did I buy her naivety. It was the small things, like not knowing what a mobile phone was or how to use it, how disoriented she was when she ran out of the house and almost got hit by a car, and the way she blindly believed everything she was told. Now I know that she may not have any reason to mistrust her husband or doctor, but it just seems so odd to me that she initially just went along with everything she was told.

She kept making excuses for everyone.

We are not told what type of person she was before she lost her memory, but I can’t get over how she never questioned not having anyone in her life beside her husband.

Having said all that, how ludicrously detailed was her journal? I know that some people have great memories, and this is after all merely fiction, but I simply cannot believe that she remembered all those conversations word for word. Also, was she writing in shorthand? Sometimes she’d write pages and say that she only had a few minutes.


The mere fact that I kept focusing on these minor details are an indication of little I invested in the story. Like I said, it felt like I already knew what was going to happen before it did, and I was pretty much reading to find out if I was right.
And that cheesy ending.

So yeah, 3/5 because it was a nice idea, and it was nicely written, just a bit too predictable.


  1. I agree...actually, I never finished this book because I just could not get into it and simply didn't care about Christine. I was hoping it'd be a fast-paced thriller but it just wasn't.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one since people seem to be loving it. It was too slow and Christine wasn't that believable at all.

  2. Thank you for this review. Now I know I can skip this one.

    I appreciate you weighing in on my "conversation" What Do You Do if a Book Doesn't Hold Your Attention. I am beginning to understand now why fewer and fewer reviewers accept unsolicited books for review. It is difficult to say no, especially since I am working on a novel myself. I understand the labour of love. Typically a story has to grip me from the beginning. There have been exceptions, like travel memoirs, but for the most part if it doesn't get me right away, it doesn't get me at all.