Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Review: Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

Pub. date: January 2005
Publisher: Black Swan
Source: Bought

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'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 choice ahead of me...' 

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love — all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. 

Welcome to Christine's life.


I bought this book a few years ago and it has been sitting on my TBR shelf for so long. What really motivated me to pick up this book was the fact that it is being adapted into a movie starring Nicole Kidman. I watched the movie trailer and immediately picked up the novel. 

The premise of the novel revolves around Christine's amnesia, she wakes every morning having no recollection of her past. I found his topic to be very interesting and enthralling at first but as the novel went on, this plot began to wear a little thin as plot holes surrounding the amnesia were papered over and left only half explained. 

The plot was written in a way that some people may read as slow pacing, but I thought it was ideal for giving a little information at a time to the reader as to avoid a big information dump. This allowed me to get caught up in Christine's thoughts, her surroundings and the descriptive writing style. Although the novel hit a very boring patch in the middle, it picked up with a big plot twist near the end of the novel, before depleting with a bland ending. 

The characters of the novel were interesting, although there were only a handful of them. Christine is the ultimate unreliable narrator, unable to remember her past, the reader often wonders how much of her memories are fact or fiction. She is a very strong willed, sharp woman with a very "no-nonsense" tone. The other characters in  the novel; Ben, Christine's husband, Dr Nash, her doctor and Claire, Christine's old college friend are all good side characters. I like how much the reader is made to question each of these characters innocence and ask themselves are these characters trustworthy?

Although i think the novel could have done with some more characters. There are not that many side or secondary characters in the novel . I think that if there was, the novel could have more room to cause the reader to build up suspicion of them. 

Overall, a good crime thriller novel with an interesting idea behind it. Although not carried out perfectly, a decent read. I would recommend you get this one out of the library, especially if you are unsure whether or no you will enjoy it. 

Anyone seen the movie? I hope to watch it very soon. 


3 Stars


  1. What's the movie called? I read this 2 years ago and loved it, but I didn't have a blog back then so I didn't nitpick at anything. Though I DID NOT see that twist coming to be honest. And I don't remember most of the book, but I liked how the book was about amnesia.

    Awesome review!!

  2. Great review Shannon!! I haven't read the book but I did see the movie recently. I thought it was really well made and thrilling, and I did not see the twist coming at all!! Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth were really good in it as well. They replace Christine's written diary with a video diary which I thought was a really good idea. I would definitely recommend the movie if you don't think you'll read the book.