Book review: Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson 12 Apr 2012
- Descendant of Samuel Marsden speaks at Selwyn Village event Living
- Large crowd launch Parekura Horomia book at the Beehive Living
- Book review: Eurojihad - Patterns of Islamist Radicalization News
- History of local gem Living
- One week, two of New Zealand arts’ greats for Ficino School Living
- Minister congratulates Dunedin as UNESCO City of Literature News
- UNESCO honours early NZ oral and written heritage items Living
- Crowds flock to Ellerslie International Flower Show opening Living
- From Hawke's Bay to Berlin - This Way of Life Living
This was the first ebook I have read on my Kindle!! Having not wanted to pack too many heavy books for my recent business trip to China I experimented with an ebook and will definitely be back for more.
Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson is the debut novel from a British audiologist- apparently written between shifts at the hospital. Anyone who has seen the film “50 First Dates” will instantly recognise the main theme – a woman has lost her memory and each day is a new voyage of discovery about her own identity.
Chrissie, the main character in the novel suffers from a rare form of amnesia brought on by an “accident” years earlier- she wakes every morning beside a man she does not recognise, in a house she cannot identify as her own space and most horrifying in a saggy middle aged body she really does not want to believe is her own. She can only retain memories for 24 hours and sleep wipes out what she has gained from the day. Her source of information about who she is, what she feels, what her life was like and is like now comes only from her husband Ben.
With the help of her doctor who is interested in her unusual case, and unbeknownst to her husband Ben, Chrissie begins to keep a journal to try to help herself to remember. Early on our suspicions are raised about “Ben”- is he really a completely selfless carer who only wants to protect Chrissie…….. or does it suit him for his “yet to be discovered but probably sinister reasons” that she actually cannot remember her own life and it is up to him to educate and manipulate her?
Our suspicions are aroused early on and confirmed by emerging details that show Ben is lying……… but why is the key question?? Why tell her she hasn’t written a novel when she has, why tell her they had no children …………… and then change the story and tell her their soldier son died recently? How convenient that most old photos were supposedly lost in a fire and even more convenient that her best friend emigrated to New Zealand and they lost touch.
The plot has some predictable elements – but nevertheless kept me engaged as Chrissie’s horrifying story slowly emerges. I felt a strong pull to “just read a bit more” to find out what would happen, did they really have a child who died, where was everyone else from her former life………. and of course just who really was Ben??
However, the ending disappointed me somewhat and I found it hard not to question some elements such as the fact that apparently a stranger is allowed to sign out a vulnerable patient with memory issues from a closed ward - and how convenient that under the circumstances none of the staff really knew what her husband looked like.
I found the build up to the climactic ending enjoyably tense, although also frustrating as it irritated me that Chrissie was now able to recount events in a far more detailed way than apparently she should have been given her memory issues. These distractions aside – the ending was satisfying as our questions have been answered.
So – my final verdict.
Gripping and entertaining.. but also a little irritating!
18 Dec 2014 News
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce today released the summary of submissions received in response to the Government's... more
19 Dec 2014 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk Stuart McLean moves to Trade Me as Xero ditches chief revenue role By Suze Metherell Dec. 19 ... more
18 Dec 2014 Business News
By Suze Metherell Dec. 18 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, led by OceanaGold Corp and Air New Zealand following a global... more
18 Dec 2014 Lifestyle
The history of 200 years ago, including Christmas Day 1814, is being remembered as the first steps towards nationhood for Aotearoa... more
18 Dec 2014 Property
The Government has signed a development agreement for the construction of 237 homes as part of its affordable housing project on an... more
15 Dec 2014 Property
By Paul McBeth Dec. 15 (BusinessDesk) - Median national housing rents rose at an annual pace of 5.3 percent in November, slowing... more
19 Dec 2014 Migration
Article - BusinessDesk Immigration rises to a fresh record, fuelled by returning kiwis, Indian students By Suze ... more
19 Dec 2014 Migration
Article - BusinessDesk Britannia takes down TV ads, working with FMA over UK pension ads By Suze Metherell Dec. 19 ... more
18 Dec 2014 Travel & Tourism
AirlineRatings.com has announced along with its Airline Excellence Awards its Top Ten airlines for 2015. Heading the list is... more
18 Dec 2014 Travel & Tourism
By Suze Metherell Dec. 18 (BusinessDesk) - Tourism Holdings, the biggest campervan rental company in Australia and New Zealand, has... more
18 Dec 2014 Rugby
Dan Carter is poised to become the world’s highest-paid rugby player when the All Blacks great moves to France after next... more
18 Dec 2014 Column
by Gordon Campbell The slaughter of the children in Pakistan is incomprehensibly awful. On the side, it has thrown a spotlight onto... more
12 Dec 2014 Column
Article - Gordon Campbell Gordon Campbell on income inequality, and yo ho ho Christmas songs by Gordon Campbell As 2014... more
18 Dec 2014 People
In association with Kea, The New Zealand High Commission and The New Zealand Society, Dream Catchers was launched at New Zealand House... more
8 Dec 2014 People
Wellington, December 8th – At only 15 years old, Auckland student Hunter Williams is the youngest winner of the Inspiring... more
18 Dec 2014 Recruitment
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a scheme to fill hard-to-staff health roles is making a real difference to the career choices... more
5 Dec 2014 Recruitment
By Paul McBeth Dec. 5 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar is heading for a 0.9 percent weekly decline against the greenback as... more