Wednesday, July 20, 2011

:BOOKSHELF: Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Before I Go to Sleep: A NovelI usually read before I go to sleep...not every night, but most...generally just a chapter or two.

However, with Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel by S.J. Watson, I had a hard time putting it down each night. There always seemed to be some twist around the corner that I found myself wanting to read 'just one more chapter'!

Here's an overview from Publisher's Weekly:
Memories—real, false, and a bit of both—are at the heart of British author Watson's haunting, twisted debut. Christine Lucas awakens each morning in London with no idea who she is or why she's in bed with a strange man, until he tells her that his name is Ben and they've been married for 22 years. Slowly, Christine learns that she has amnesia and is unable to remember her past or retain new memories: every night when she falls asleep, the slate is wiped clean. Dr. Nash, her therapist, has encouraged her to write in a journal that she keeps secret from Ben. Christine realizes how truly tangled—and dangerous—her life is after she sees the words "don't trust Ben" written in her journal, whose contents reveal that the only person she can trust is herself. Watson handles what could have turned into a cheap narrative gimmick brilliantly, building to a chillingly unexpected climax.

While in the end I ended up LOVING this book, it the first few chapters, I did have a nagging concern.

Basically, every chapter starts the same. Christine wakes up and doesn't know where she is and thinks she is 20+ years younger than she is, but is soon confronted with the fact that nothing is as she thinks. I thought, "How can the author possibly relive this realization in every chapter of the book and keep it from getting painfully redundant.

Well, it didn't take me long to realize that Watson is an amazing storyteller and there is nothing redundant about the unraveling of this plot line. In fact, it's hard to believe that this is Watson first novel, but it is.

I have to admit, I thought that I had the 'don't trust Ben' plot twist figured out about half way through the book, but still had an inkling of doubt that made me keep reading. In the end, the twist was totally NOT what I thought it was and something oh so much more sinister (and genius!).

I've read some great books, but I do think Before I Go to Sleep is my favorite so far for 2011! I definitely recommend this novel who is looking for a suspenseful page-turner.


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