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Before I Go To Sleep [Hardcover]

S J Watson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,963 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 April 2011

'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 ...'

Welcome to Christine's life.

Quite simply the best debut novel I've ever read. - Tess Gerritsen

Brilliant in its pacing, profound in its central question, suspenseful on every page - and satisfying in its thriller ending. - Anita Shreve

A deft, perceptive exploration of a fascinating neurological condition, and a cracking good thriller. -Lionel Shriver

A terrific first novel - well-written, genuinely unsettling and psychologically very plausible. Thrillers seldom come much better than this. Loved it, read it in one - Joanne Harris

An exceptional thriller. It left my nerves jangling for hours after I finished the last page - Dennis Lehane

So high-concept, so ambitious and so structurally brilliant. It's so rare to read a thriller that's perfect in every detail, but this one definitely qualifies! - Sophie Hannah

A deeply unsettling debut that asks the most terrifying question - what do you have left when you lose yourself? - Val McDermid

A truly amazing debut. The central character, Christine, is beautifully drawn. It's hard to imagine a more compelling, believable and sympathetic portrayal of a damaged human being. I loved it from start to finish. - Mo Hayder

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857520172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857520173
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,963 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

S J Watson was born in the Midlands, lives in London and worked in the NHS for a number of years.

In 2008 Watson was accepted into the first Faber Academy 'Writing a Novel' Course, a programme that covers all aspects of the novel-writing process. Before I Go to Sleep is the result.

Now sold in over 30 languages around the world, Before I Go To Sleep has been also been acquired for film by Ridley Scott's production company, Scott Free, with Rowan Joffe to direct. Filming is scheduled to begin in 2011.

Product Description


"It's exceptionally accomplished...The structure is so dazzling it almost distracts you from the quality of the writing."--Guardian

"S J Watson's debut doesn't put a foot wrong... brilliantly simple... Unforgettable."--Financial Times Weekend

"Before I Go To Sleep is an astounding piece of work... a tour de force, a haunting tapestry woven from a single woman’s ragged thoughts, desperate to make sense of the past she constantly forgets... This is writing of the highest calibre."--Chris Simmons,

"A taut and terrifying novel, with a grip of steel."--Woman & Home

"An unsettling, compulsive thriller...A truly gripping read."--Marie Claire


Book Description

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

An original, haunting, and deeply chilling debut.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1,061 of 1,108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I could not put this one down! 27 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Before I Go To Sleep is an excellent psychological thriller. I found myself reading this book into the small hours, and really had to tear myself away from it and go to sleep. It's an unmissable read and I can't recommend it enough.

The book is based around Christine, who loses her memory when she goes to sleep and has to start afresh everytime she wakes up. It's quite thrilling seeing it from her own eyes as each day she wakes up and can't figure out where she is, and everything has to be explained to her by a man who carefully explains to her that he's her husband. She begins to keep a journal, writing down what happens to her each day as recommended by her doctor who calls her each day to remind her of her journal and where it's hidden. Each day she reads what's previously written in her journal, and is extremely confused as she can never remember the previous entries.

As the book progresses you begin to realise something isn't right, and you know who it must involve but you can't figure out why. I had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next, and it was a brilliant read. I highly recommend this book!
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344 of 368 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Debut 21 Feb 2011
By Victoria VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I honestly can't gush enough about this book. This is the best debut novel I have ever read - the kind of thriller that gets under your skin and crawls into bed with you at night, refusing to let you shut your eyes until you read just one more page...just one more page....

The premise is a very interesting one. Christine wakes every morning in a strange bed next to a strange man, with no recollection of how she got there. But the bed is her own, and the man is her husband - and when she looks in the mirror she is somehow twenty years older than she had expected. Thanks to an accident when she was 29, Christine goes to sleep every night and has her memory erased. (Yes, this does sound like 50 First Dates, but I assure you that this storyline is darker and more thrilling than a RomCom!) Her loving husband patiently explains her situation to her every day, and her doctor tries to unlock whatever is keeping her memories hostage in her brain. I don't want to give too much away aside from that, but needless to say it emerges that not everyone is telling Christine the whole truth.

This book had me absorbed from the very first chapter. You are immediately drawn into Christine's situation, experiencing her confusion, and imagining yourself in the same nightmare. I don't get as much opportunity to read during the week as I would like, but I managed to read this in two and a half days because I was glued to it. I disagree with the reviewers who said the ending was a little too neat - I sat gasping and exclaiming for the last 60 pages or so, having heart palpitations as the story came together. An absolute must-read and a fantastic achievement for the author - I believe the film rights have already been sold.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Mrs. C. Colbert VINE VOICE
47 year old Christine wakes up every morning believing that she is still a young woman ....... a young woman who has no idea of where or who she is. Her husband has to explain patiently to her about her accident, something he has to do every morning before he goes to work.

A Dr. Nash rings her every day and tells her where her journal is and to read it and she'll discover who she is.

Gradually Christine starts to remember some events but they are terrifying events, and she begins to wonder just who she can trust......are her memories real or just imagined ..... is her husband telling her the truth.....and what about Dr. Nash, is he really a doctor? She feels helpless and doesn't know who to turn to, she begins to doubt her own sanity.

What a compelling and unsettling story this is, as Christine's memory plays tricks on her, you really don't know who is telling the truth, the plot is slowly dragged out with very few clues along the way, until the shocks are played out, and I did not guess what was coming until it hit me in the face!

Very cleverly written, though slow at times as Christine reads her journal every day, I did feel there were far too many unnecessary details in her writing and wondered how she found the time to write everything down every day. But, aside from that, I thought this was an excellent thriller with just enough twists and turns to keep me turning the pages.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent concept, poor delivery 3 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The concept is excellent but it is poorly written - such a disappointment. Definitely a page turner (I read it in a day), but this is the result of futile hope that the writing will improve in line with the plot as the book progresses. Watson successfully picks up the pace in the final chapter, ‘Today’, making it the most exciting section of the book.

The style throughout is VERY repetitive. Yes the protagonist has amnesia, and yes continually reminding the reader of certain things, as if for the first time, is effective to a point. But reading certain details in excess of 10 times, as the author tries to hammer this home, becomes boring. Finally, the way metaphors and questions are spelled out is as patronising as it is uninspiring.

If only the writing had been as inspired as the plot!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
No need to see the film. The book was riveting.
Published 5 minutes ago by miriam kays
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well written, gripping throughout and quite surprising (unless you've already seen the movie, of course)
Published 30 minutes ago by Mrs A
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
didn't like the end at all, and the story, like the subject, was too repetative for my liking.
Published 32 minutes ago by sandra floyd
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
not bad
Published 1 hour ago by anita roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved it. It was brilliant, I couldn't put it down, I'd read it in two days x
Published 2 hours ago by Mrs G Fearnley
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down !
A brilliant story well thought out that grabs you straight away . I don't usually like narrative in the first person but this one works . Read more
Published 2 hours ago by Nell Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, loads of twists and turn and really makes ...
Great, loads of twists and turn and really makes you think about what mmory contributes to your understanding of life.
Published 2 hours ago by EBS
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic debut
There are some fantastic twists and turns in this novel that meant that I simply could not put it down. Read more
Published 3 hours ago by Mr. R Kay
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing.
I was recommended this book over a year ago and purchased it on my kindle but never got round to reading it. When I saw they had a made a film about it I decided to read it. Read more
Published 9 hours ago by billygoat
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a"can't put it down" novel
Really enjoyed this tale, couldn't quite understand what I would do in similar circumstances, but really warmed to Christine and definitely not to Ben/Michael. Read more
Published 13 hours ago by Gill-EJ
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Incredible book, BUT.... 1 19 Sep 2011
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