Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

When we all go to sleep, we wake up the next day knowing what day it is, how old we are, where we are, and most important: who we are. But when Christine Lucas, the protagonist in the book, wakes up, she doesn’t know any of these things. A lot of things go through her mind: who is the man next to me, why am I wearing an engagement ring, and where am I?

‘I have no memory. According to Ben, and according to the doctor I met this afternoon, tonight, as I sleep, my mind will erase everything I know today.’

Christine has amnesia. The man next to whom she wakes up every morning, Ben, who claims that he’s her husband, tells her that she has been in a car accident twenty years ago, and that that’s the reason why she wakes up every morning, feeling like a 27 years old woman, while in fact, she’s 47 years old.
‘Chrissie’ is writing a journal, so that when she wakes up, she can read it and remember all the things that happened the days before. The more she writes in her journal, the more she remembers and the more she doubts. Can she trust Ben? What is he hiding for her?

‘Before I Go To Sleep’ is Steven ‘S.J.’ Watson his first book, after attending the first course Writing a Novel at the Faber Academy. The book has been published in more than 30 different countries around the world and it is also announced that the book would be adapted for the big screen, starring Nicole Kidman.
After reading the first chapter of the book, it reminded me of some movies, such as ‘Premonition’ and ‘The Vow’. ‘The Vow’ tells the story of Paige, who got in a car accident as well and wakes up from here coma with severe memory loss. She doesn’t remember her husband Leo, so he tries to win her heart again.
Ben is trying the same thing, such as telling Christine constantly that he’s given up a lot just to take care of her.

I don’t think that the movie will overdo the book, especially because Watson writes very detailed, so you know exactly what goes on in Christine’s mind.
Watson also writes in a way that makes you think of all the things that can happen later on in the book. Maybe it’s because of his writing style, or the story itself, but the book also leaves you with a lot of questions, such as ‘What would I do in this situation?’ and questions about the content: What if she made up all the things she wrote in her journal? That’s what makes the book different from all the others books, because it’s not only a good book to read, but also a book that leaves you think for hours.

There is no particular link between Steven’s study and the subject of the book, amnesia. On the contrary, he studied Physics at the University of Birmingham. I’m amazed that, even though he’s not an psychologist or  neurologist, he gives the impression that he is, since he put the whole story very well and expressed the protagonist’s feelings and thoughts so clear and credible.
Before I Go To Sleep is a timeless, original, shocking book, with an intense ending, and definitely one I will recommend not only to my parents, future (grand)children and uncles, but also to YOU.

Watson wants to hear his readers’ opinions, that’s why he mentioned the hashtag #B4IGTS in his credits, asking ‘us’ to join the discussion on Twitter.

Julide Boyraz

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