Book review: Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson 12 Apr 2012
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!
26 Mar 2015 News
Legislation modernising rules applying to Royal succession to the throne came into force today in New Zealand and in the 16 Realms... more
27 Mar 2015 Business News
Article - BusinessDesk NZ milk powder futures drop as Fonterra lifts GDT volumes, signalling prices will fall By Tina ... more
26 Mar 2015 Business News
NZ commercial property lending less risky now due to lower debt funding March 26 (BusinessDesk) - The Reserve Bank said New... more
13 Mar 2015 Lifestyle
Fusing light, music, mobile and one of Auckland’s most recognisable landmarks together – 2degrees launched another Kiwi... more
12 Mar 2015 Property
NZ house prices rise 3.6% in February, led by a 14% jump in Auckland prices March 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand residential... more
2 Mar 2015 Migration
Prime Minister John Key says he is not aware of any suspected war criminals from the former Yugoslavia in New Zealand. The claim that... more
17 Mar 2015 Travel & Tourism
Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss is welcoming a move by the rental vehicle industry to establish a Code of Best Practice to... more
6 Mar 2015 Travel & Tourism
Sustainable workforce solutions were at the centre of discussions between Government Ministers and tourism industry representatives... more
ICC World Cup 2015: Sunday doesn’t guarantee success but it gives the greatest chance, says McCullum
28 Mar 2015 Cricket
Q. Who won the real battle of big brother against little brother?BRENDON McCULLUM: I think he won, but I definitely had some mad... more
28 Mar 2015 Cricket
The International Cricket Council today announced the match official appointments for the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015,... more
28 Mar 2015 Opinion
Former New Zealand captain says the team will be focusing on enjoying themselves, knowing they are part of something that will be the... more
27 Mar 2015 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on a funeral in Asia, the Northland by-election, and news priorities Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny... more
18 Mar 2015 Appointments
Tower names Seniors Money's Brett Wilson as CFO, replacing Boggs March 18 (BusinessDesk) - Tower, the listed general insurer,... more
6 Mar 2015 People
Glassjar, the kiwi software start-up whose app provides people an easy way of sharing bills, has launched in the United States. The... more
26 Mar 2015 Recruitment
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced a package of measures to strengthen enforcement of minimum... more
20 Mar 2015 Recruitment
RESEND: Warehouse says 63% of permanent staff now on 'career retailer wage' (Fixes fourth paragraph to show Warehouse is... more