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1,095 of 1,148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I could not put this one down!
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...
Published on 27 Mar. 2011 by Gemma

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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson
This is the story of Christine, who wakes up each morning as a middle-aged woman with no recollection of the previous 20 years of her life after being seriously injured in her late 20s. She lives with her husband, Ben, and reads and writes a journal each day in order to try to piece together her life. It soon becomes clear that Ben isn't the caring, devoted husband that...
Published on 28 Feb. 2012 by iandliz


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1,095 of 1,148 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I could not put this one down!, 27 Mar. 2011
By 
Gemma "Chocolatebox" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Hardcover)
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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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358 of 386 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Debut, 21 Feb. 2011
By 
Victoria (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Hardcover)
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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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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson, 28 Feb. 2012
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This is the story of Christine, who wakes up each morning as a middle-aged woman with no recollection of the previous 20 years of her life after being seriously injured in her late 20s. She lives with her husband, Ben, and reads and writes a journal each day in order to try to piece together her life. It soon becomes clear that Ben isn't the caring, devoted husband that he at first appears and Christine has to work out each day who she can trust and who she can't...

The start of the book is very good. The first descriptions of Christine's confusion when getting up in the morning to when she discovers her journal were excellent and set the book up for an exciting and compelling read. But then the book loses its way a bit. The journal becomes the basis of the novel and as such it is implausible that Christine has time to write, covertly so that Ben doesn't find out, at such length each day as well as having to read it all. But there were so many other holes in the plot - where were social services for a start? - that I started to get really annoyed with it all. The story trundles along until it reaches quite an exciting climax, with a twist that is as subtle as a sledgehammer. The ending disappoints too - I still don't understand how those people ended up in the ambulance with Christine! - with everyone gathering around Scooby-Doo style to go over what happened and going off to live happily ever after. It wasn't completely dreadful, it is very readable and sucks you into the story but it falls apart completely when you start to consider any aspect of it in any depth.

This book had so much promise. The basic idea is very original, scary and makes for an exciting thriller but momentum is quickly lost and the characters and relationships between them are one-dimensional and dull. With all the hype and having been chosen for every book club going I would have expected this to have been amazing - it could have been but it isn't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Crafted and Very Original, 14 Feb. 2012
By 
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Paperback)
The reader quickly starts to understand and appreciate Christine's emotions. She wakes up each morning in a strange room alongside a man she does not recognise, and suffers the shock of looking in the mirror and seeing a woman aged 20 years older than herself looking back at her. Her bewilderment and fear is apparent and very well portrayed.

Although this is well written, at the halfway stage I felt the book was harrowing, but I was not really enjoying it. However, then things really start to get interesting as Christine's sense of self awareness increases page by page and one gets the sense that all is not quite right.

This is an unusual plot, but the medical condition is real enough although very rare. The only other time I recall seeing it portrayed was in 50 First Dates [DVD] [2004]. However, that is a comedy very far removed from the tone of this book. I think Christine's confused reactions each morning are very realistic and are about a million miles from Drew Barrymore's who watches a quick video and then goes out to meet her family, who she does not recognise, with a smile on her face each day.

So to summarise, this is a very promising first novel and extremely well crafted with a very unusual plot.
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225 of 254 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Baffled by the Hype, 22 Jan. 2012
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I sometimes wonder whether I am reading the same book as some of these reviewers. The last time I was as disappointed in a book as this was The Da Vinci Code, with which Before I Go to Sleep has much in common.

BIGS is poorly written - 'she turned to him, he turned to her'; I'm amazed they weren't perpetually dizzy - and the inconsistencies and absurdities in the plot were gob-smackingly awful. It reads exactly as it is - a first attempt by someone who has been 'taught' how to write.

SPOILER ALERT - if in spite of this review you still intend buying this book, look away now.

No-one would write in a journal as Chrissy has written - that much detail? No way. Could anyone actually believe that a patient as seriously compromised as this would be allowed to discharge themselves and live without medical supervision? Could you believe that Chrissy could actually have been handed over to 'someone' without any checks being made? Can you believe that a medical professional could behave the way Dr Nash does throughout? Why didn't Adam realise for 4 months that his mother was AWOL? Why, when Claire asked Chrissy to describe Ben, did she first ask about the colour of his hair and not the fact that he had a bloody great SCAR ON HIS CHEEK??? Worst of all, if Claire knew about Chrissy's 'affair', including where they used to meet, why did the police not pursue her lover as a possible culprit in her attack? Clearly they weren't discreet, would he have been so difficult to find?

And there are more - so many more- gaping great flaws, but I wasted time reading it, I don't want to waste any more time reviewing it.

Ok if you've read this far and haven't already bought the book, take my advice - don't. Want a really good 'psychological thriller'? 'We need to Talk About Kevin'
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully when I wake up I'll have forgotten it ......., 28 Mar. 2012
By 
I wanted to post a review just to support the other people who have already articulated how leaden,dull and downright implausible this book is. For the life of me I cannot believe the number of positive reviews for a book that reads as if it was written by a committee.
I don't like to give up on a book and yesterday the phrase "I could'nt put it down" was exactly right I was so desperate to finish it and start something more worthwhile. Today, 30 pages into the latest Mark Billingham thriller, I'm so much happier !
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71 of 81 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric, but didn't quite work for me, 21 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Hardcover)
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Before I Go to Sleep is a well crafted thriller which successfully builds the tension. However I couldn't find myself completely swept up by it because there were a few rather unrealistic plot devices which jarred with me at an early stage - the obliging husband who does nothing every evening but watch TV so that his amnesiac wife can write her secret diary upstairs, night after night; also the central character's analyst gives her a second mobile phone so that he can phone her without her husband knowing...because when he called her before (on the original mobile in her bag) her husband answered...er...surely the potential discovery of a second mobile phone in a handbag is immediately suspicious. Its absolutely clear the reason for the second mobile is for a later crucial bit of plot (it was). I'm afraid this immediately struck me as such a sloppy device that it got in the way of believability. The male author generally does well with his female first person narrator - except that the clear giveaway that S.J Watson must be a male is repeatedly given by Christine's referring to her knickers as 'panties' - almost invariably a male word for women's undergarments! I realise, given the generally rave reviews for the book that my more lukewarm response is the exception, and its clear that most readers are going to be enjoyably on the edge of their seats with this. Sadly, it didn't quite work for me as I was too aware of coincidences and devices to find my disbelief suspended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite meet the hype, 20 Sept. 2014
By 
Lucybird (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Paperback)
A couple of years ago everybody was raving about Before I Go To Sleep. I didn’t read it then, partly because I’m not the biggest fan of crime fiction, partly because of my ever expanding to be read pile, and partly because the last raved about crime novel I remembered reading was The Da Vinci Code- which I have no desire to re-read. My Mum had read it, and my boyfriend and a handful of people from BCF had been very positive about it.

However it wasn’t the positive reviews which made me interested so much as the slight psychological plotline- that of Christine having basically no memory. Either way I was interested enough to go out and buy myself a copy, but when my Mum was sorting out books to get rid of (we have nine bookcases in our 3-up 3-down house, so need all the space we can get!) she put Before I Go To Sleep in the pile, and I moved it to my shelves (along with The Tiger’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry). When I actually got around to reading it I was in the mood for something which would be a quick, easy, but (hopefully) gripping read. I read crime the way other people read chick-lit, it’s more of a relaxed easy read (generally, there is some really good crime out there that you really can’t figure out, and that is more taxing). My Mum’s reaction to it more than anything showed me that Before I Go To Sleep would be what I was looking for.

It was that as well. Gripping enough whilst it lasted, but it didn’t really leave any lingering feelings. I guessed the twist quite early on, which meant that anything else was mainly just confirming my theory, although there were enough little twists on the way to make me want to keep reading for the story itself.

I had a bit of a love hate relationship with Christine. She was just too trusting! I understand that you have to trust someone in that situation, but it wasn’t even that she trusted people she met, she tried to force herself to feel things which she thought she should feel for them, I don’t really understand that.

The story was pretty unique. Which probably puts it above other crime novels of a similar quality. However it was just of standard quality. If you’re a fan of crime novels then you may like this one, but I wouldn’t expect it to live up to hype.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good thriller not advised to read before going to sleep, the next day you will be tired, 16 May 2014
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Paperback)
‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by S.J. Watson is a novel that tells a story of an extraordinary life in which every morning you wake up not knowing who you or the people around you, are.

The novel will remind reader of Memento, an excellent movie that had similar interesting story. Its main character is woman named Christine Lucas, who is trying to continue living her life after she suffered an accident that caused anterograde amnesia.

Christine is able to remember everything that is happening during the day but after she falls asleep she will forget everything, which brings along some unpleasant situations, starting from that every morning she wakes up next to an unknown man...

And although her memories aren't completely gone; her brain can't make the puzzle of her mixed memory pieces...

This is author's first novel and he made good job telling story about this unusual life his main character is living, trying to write each day in journal pieces of her life trying to combine them into something meaningful.
When these pieces won't fit together she will slowly starting to realize that there is something wrong and the things aren't what people around make her to believe...

The author skillfully included several unexpected twists and turns what "forces" reader to read further and further making this book a real page turner until its last page.
Also, during the process of its writing author threw inside a bit of everything that makes good thriller novel, therefore besides usual suspense and violence, reader will find plenty of mystery and intrigue.

Due to all above-mentioned, I can recommend you to read ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ mostly due to author's good writing style and excellent and exciting story which makes it an addictive and thrilling read.

Although be advised that if you read it before going to sleep, the next day you will certainly be tired…
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspend disbelief and keep turning the pages, 9 Dec. 2012
By 
Joanne Sheppard (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Paperback)
Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson is a psychological thriller with a clever but potentially restrictive concept behind it: Christine, the narrator, is suffering from a severe form of memory loss that causes her to wake up each morning with no memory of the day before. Now 47, she can remember nothing past her early 20s. Every day, she awakes horrified to see her middle-aged self in the mirror and to find herself living with Ben, a husband she doesn't recognise, in a house she's never seen.

If this sounds rather limiting, don't worry. Watson gets round the issue of Christine's short term memory by having her write a journal every day at the suggestion of the mysterious Dr Nash, who calls her daily to remind her where it's hidden, and it's this journal that makes up a large portion of the novel and which Christine uses to piece together what's been happening to her over the previous days. And written on the first page, in large capital letters, are the words 'DON'T TRUST BEN'.

Before I Go To Sleep is a tense, claustrophobic read with a heroine in an almost unbearably vulnerable position, trying to piece together decades of her own life from scraps of conflicting information from people who, despite their claims to know her, might just as well be strangers. To make matters worse, Christine knows she's suffered from paranoia in the past along with her memory loss, and may not be an objective judge of other's motives. But despite Christine's necessary vulnerability, she makes a strong and complex heroine and certainly one who is not without flaws. Watson manages to build enough interest into her character to prevent her from becoming merely a damsel in distress.

The central mystery is whether Ben is withholding certain facts from his wife for some sinister reason, or whether he is desperately trying to protect her from reliving past traumas - and if so, what those traumas might be. Ben himself is largely presented by necessity as an average Joe trying to make the best of a difficult situation; he's neither pantomime villain nor saintly carer. There's also Ed Nash, Christine's doctor, who seems keen to encourage Christine to keep secrets, and we find ourselves questioning his motives too. Unfortunately, Dr Nash isn't a particularly well-drawn character and his blandness does nothing to add to the potential intrigue. This struck me as rather a wasted opportunity.

Although Before I Go To Sleep kept me turning the pages with increasing nervous tension right to the end, this really is a novel where you have to suspend disbelief. There are far too many convenient coincidences and the way certain red herrings are explained away at the end is irritatingly lazy; it's easy to pick holes in the plot, particularly as the story comes to its end. I'm also not sure how much of a 'twist' I think the ending really is, although whether this really matters is debatable.

Overall, though, Before I Go To Sleep is a cleverly-structured thriller with a convincing protagonist - I found it surprisingly easy to imagine myself in Christine's shoes, although there are times when it's hard to approve of some of the choices she makes. If you're prepared to put aside misgivings about the realism of certain aspects of the story and you're looking for a page-turner, you could certainly do worse than this one.
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Before I Go To Sleep
Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson (Paperback - 2 Jan. 2012)
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