After watching the film, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, I came across a copy of Before I Go To Sleep By S.J. Watson for £1.25 in a charity shop and it sat on my shelf for months until recently.
Before I go to Sleep is the story of a woman, Christine, who suffers from amnesia following a traumatic event. Every morning she wakes up beside a man she doesn’t recognise and finds photos and notes covering the bathroom wall. Christine goes through each day as if she’s reading another woman’s story. Ben is her husband, he’s a teacher. Christine had a car accident and suffers from amnesia. Each night when she goes to sleep she forgets and wakes up each morning having forgotten the previous day until she starts seeing Dr Nash. Christine starts her journal and with the help of Dr Nash she pieces together the years she had forgotten and realises things may not be as they seem.
I really enjoyed this book even more than the film. It was nice to have so much description and get such an insight into Christine’s head. I love how it is written mainly in diary entries and, as a reader, you’re finding out information just as Christine is.
The story line is dark and Christine adds an innocence to it. She is pure an child-like which is often a result of the amnesia causing her to believe she is still 20-something years old. Another factor that adds to this is her questioning. Understandably, Christine questions almost everything about her life because she knows so little about it and it reminds me of how small children often ask many questions.
Due to having watched the film first, I knew how the plot line would develop and who would turn out to be the baddie but the book is written so well that I felt as though I was figuring this out again for the first time just as Christine is. Throughout the book I was still on edge and suspicious of every single character and I think that’s what makes this book so brilliant.
Dr Nash is a great character. His character development is really effective as he seems so professional and secretive at the beginning but he seems more human as the book goes on.
Ben, for me, is a very 2D character for a lot of the book but it does the storyline a massive favour. His actions are so contrasting and it adds a great dynamic to the plot.
I think my favourite thing about this book is the intensity created by having so few characters. There are tiny characters here and there for maybe a chapter or even less but the story is build around Christine, Ben and Dr Nash and you really get in close to them. I felt at one with Christine especially as she is telling her own story.
I loved this book!