Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
Author: S.J. Watson
Genre: Fiction (Contemporary / Thriller / Amnesia / Unreliable Narrator / UK)
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Paperbacks (2/7/2012)
Source: TLC Book Tours
Did I finish?: I did -- I was too petrified to stop!
One-sentence summary: A woman wakes to find herself in her 40s without a memory of her last twenty years or so, and each day she starts over trying to untangle the mystery of how it happened.
Do I like the cover?:I hate it, but I actually think it fits the book very well, and it's creepy and striking. So...maybe I like it!
I'm reminded of...: Jennifer McMahon
First line: The bedroom is strange.
Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow, especially if you're facing a gloomy weekend (weather-wise): the ambiance will make this even creepier!
Why did I get this book?: Some heavy hitters blurbed this book positively -- Dennis Lehane, Lionel Shriver, Anita Shreve -- so I figured I'd give it a try!
Review: Last year, I read something like three books featuring main characters with a traumatic brain injury that caused them to forget parts of their past. I'm sort of over that theme, but there was so much buzz about this book that I decided to get over myself and read this one. From the first chapter, and the narrator's disorienting crash in to reality and her life (even if she doesn't believe this is her life), I was grabbed: there's an immediacy that comes from her horror and her apprehension. Even more, it's impossible to trust anyone -- at least I couldn't conceive of trusting anyone in this tale -- which meant every revelation felt suspicious, and I just couldn't put the book down. I had to know!
I must admit I was reminded greatly of Momento, so some of the oomph of the premise -- the journal, the don't-trust-Ben stuff -- didn't feel as shocking to me as I think they were supposed to be, but Watson's writing is solid, and there's tension is spades. I couldn't put this book down because I didn't want to leave our heroine, Chrissy, alone!
Overall, this is a solid thriller, and if you're not the type to try to 'solve' the mystery, then I think it'll captivate you for a few days. Everything wrapped up a little too neatly for me, but I think it would have been impossible to find a perfect ending for this book. A diverting read!