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When I wake up, this wont even be a distant memory....
Before I Go to Sleep - S J Watson
Member Name: lyndsey1989
Before I Go to Sleep - S J Watson
Advantages: Plot, characters
Disadvantages: None for me but some may find it a bit slow
To plot begins first thing in the morning when Chrissy (Christine) wakes up. She rubs her eyes, rolls over and panics. Who is that man? She doesn't recognise him. Waking up a bit she glances round the room, she doesn't recognise that either. 'Oh no!' she thinks, shes humiliated and just wants to get dressed and get out. She creeps onto the landing trying not to wake the man and finds the bathroom. She is shocked when she goes to look into the mirror and sees lots of photos stuck around it. Pictures of her...pictures of the man with an older woman...she doesn't understand. She looks into the mirror and gasps. She has the face of a much older woman, she is not in her twenties as she woke up believing but looks at least forty. Chrissy is very confused and worried. She heads out of the bathroom, not sure what to do next.
The man is waiting for her, Chrissy is scared but when he starts talking to her his voice is soft and calm meaning that her anxiety levels begin to decrease. She is extremely unprepared for what this man has to say - his name is Ben, he is her husband, she had a car accident many years ago and as a result of this has lost all memory following the accident. Every day she wakes up not knowing who Ben is or what she has done with her life. They head down to the kitchen where Ben boils the kettle and begins to slowly tell Chrissy her story...
I decided I would like to read this book because, in addition to all the raving reviews it was getting, I have a very keen interest in mental health since being affected with mental health issues over the past year. I have recently embarked upon a Psychology degree so I thought this would be a good read for me. I did have high expectations for this book however I was also a little apprehensive at the same time because it is not my usual genre of book.
The story is told in the first person and from Chrissy's point of view. I really liked this way of writing and think that if it had been written in third person then the content wouldn't have been anywhere near as effective. By telling the story in first person, it allows us as the reader to really get inside Chrissy's mind and understand exactly how she must be feeling which is absolutely paramount to the plot.
I immediately loved the character of Chrissy. I felt very protective over her because of her illness and found it instantly recognisable she must have been. Thinking about her condition is absolutely terrifying and I often got lost in the story imagining how she must have been feeling. When I was suffering I was very vulnerable however I still had my memory. I cant begin to think how Chrissy must have felt, not being able to remember what happened just the previous day or even her birthday the year previously. I had a lot of sympathy for Chrissy and was sad to see how much of a loner she was - every day for her was the same, her and Ben get up, Ben goes to work and Chrissy might see her doctor, otherwise she will stay at home, alone. I found her to be isolated and alone for the vast majority of the book which to me, highlighted how much she really was suffering.
Initially I liked the character of Ben and thought how difficult it must be for him, having the calm his wife down every morning and explain that they did know each other, they were married and she was ill. However, as the book progressed Ben began to annoy me more and more! Initially it was just his attitude with Chrissy - he would sigh when she didn't remember things and when he got home he would spend most of his evening in his office leaving her alone for even longer. I understand it must be very difficult to be in a situation like Bens and it must be very testing, however I just wished he was a bit kinder and more open with Chrissy.
The plot had me hooked from the start as I realised pretty quickly that not everything was as it seemed. I willed the plot to progress so I could discover exactly what was going on and also to see if Chrissy's condition ever improved. Some sections of the plot were a little slow and it seemed as though more could have been integrated into the story to make it a little more exciting to read but on the whole I thought it was a very interesting plot and I was eager to see what would happen. My favourite (and to me, most exciting) part of the plot was the last third or quarter of the book because the plot was really picking up pace here and I was desperate to see how the plot would conclude and if my predictions had been correct. There are a number of opportunities throughout the plot for you as the reader to make assumptions and predictions concerning what may happen. These are good as it really integrates you into the story and often you find that one minute you are predicting one thing and the next you are thinking that no, that cant possibly be correct.
The writing style is informal and informative. A lot of the plot focuses on what is going on in Chrissy's mind but it also contains a lot of conversations which are helpful to allow the reader to see Chrissy's relationship with others.
The ending of the book was brilliant and I was hooked and couldn't put it down. I did have a sort of idea about how the book would end however there was a big surprise that I wasn't expecting and also smaller shocks and surprises along the way which really helped to keep my focus, making me desperate to uncover what was going to happen. The ending also left us on a bit of a cliffhanger so it would be great to see a sequel.
The book is written by S. J. Watson.
It was published in 2012.
The publisher is Black Swan.
It has 384 pages.
The book is available both to download and to purchase. The kindle price is currently £3.46 whilst the paperback is £3.87 (Amazon).
The book is currently being made into a film.
This was a book that had me hooked and I found the plot extremely interesting and I am so pleased that I decided to sway away from my preferred genre. I'm hoping and praying there will be a sequel as I am desperate to see what happened next! I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone - even if this isn't your preferred genre as it is a real eye opener.
Summary: Fantastic read