Before I go to Sleep
‘As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choices ahead of me....” Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past and even the people you love – all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.
If you are interested in mystery-thrillers and a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat from the very first page, then you will fall head over heels in love with Before I Go to Sleep by S.J Watson. It tells the story of a middle-aged woman, Christine Lucas, who suffers from memory problems and every morning, wakes up in an unfamiliar bed beside an unfamiliar man. Spotting his wedding ring, she assumes she got drunk the night before and surrendered to his charms and the sweet release of alcohol. Christine thinks like a twenty-something party girl, so it comes as a shock when she looks in a mirror and sees a 47-year-old woman staring back.
She has had a faulty memory that deletes her history every 24 hours. The strange man in the bed introduces himself as Ben, her husband of 20 years. It is the first of many shocking discoveries Christine experiences on a daily basis: she has written a novel, given birth to a son, and she got involved with a mysterious man which led to her tragic accident. Guiding her through this confusing time, a neuropsychologist called Doctor Nash has been secretly meeting with Christine without the knowledge of her husband, Ben. He contacts her, via phone, every morning and introduces himself before instructing Christine to read her journal. Its first words are: "Don't trust Ben".
S.J Watson's take on the material is intriguing, convincing and clever. Christine's life is ordinary, but filled with life changing possibilities: the early chapters fly by as you wonder exactly who to trust and who is telling the truth. The fun comes from linking the information Watson exploits and figuring out for yourself where the plot will lead Christine. Why is Ben untrustworthy? Is Dr Nash's interest purely professional?
Christine's journal is a smart way to dish out clues and to provide another layer of uncertainty for the audience: can she even believe the evidence of her own pen? But as the plot quickens and more tension is added to the story line, the reader feels the need for Christine to read more from her journal to discover what happened during that day and what else her mind managed to remember before the accident.
Who is to blame for this brutal incident that has been inflicted on Christine? And why does her journal read: “Don’t trust Ben”?
Well, if you read the book then you will discover the truth.