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1,117 of 1,171 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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Forgettable
(I jump in and out of spoilers throughout – it’s the only way to review this trash - so rather than constantly having to stop myself to write “spoilers”, I’m writing it at the top of the review. Fair warning.)

Christine has a very specific type of amnesia: every day she wakes up not knowing who the man sleeping next to her is. She...
Published 5 months ago by Sam Quixote

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1,117 of 1,171 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I could not put this one down!, 27 Mar. 2011
By 
Gemma (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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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367 of 397 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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Forgettable, 11 Nov. 2014
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Paperback)
(I jump in and out of spoilers throughout – it’s the only way to review this trash - so rather than constantly having to stop myself to write “spoilers”, I’m writing it at the top of the review. Fair warning.)

Christine has a very specific type of amnesia: every day she wakes up not knowing who the man sleeping next to her is. She also forgets that she’s 47 and not in her early twenties as she believes. She forgets that she was in an accident that caused her memory loss, she forgets that she had a son who died in Afghanistan, she forgets that she was once a successful novelist. She has to relearn everything about her past, every single day – before she goes to sleep and does it all over again tomorrow.

Christine has a very specific type of amnesia: every day she wakes up not knowing who the man sleeping next to her is. She also forgets that she’s 47 and not in her early twenties as she believes. She forgets that she was in an accident that caused her memory loss, she forgets that she had a son who died in Afghanistan, she forgets that she was once a successful novelist. She has to relearn everything about her past, every single day – before she goes to sleep and does it all over again tomorrow.

Christine has a very specific type of amnesia: every day she wakes up not knowing who the man sleeping next to her is. She also forgets that she’s 47 and not in her early twenties as she believes. She forgets that she was in an accident that caused her memory loss, she forgets that she had a son who died in Afghanistan, she forgets that she was once a successful novelist. She has to relearn everything about her past, every single day – before she goes to sleep and does it all over again tomorrow.

Christine has a very specific type of amnesia: every day she wakes up not knowing who the man sleeping next to her is. She also forgets that she’s 47 and not in her early twenties as she believes. She forgets that she was in an accident that caused her memory loss, she forgets that she had a son who died in Afghanistan, she forgets that she was once a successful novelist. She has to relearn everything about her past, every single day – before she goes to sleep and does it all over again tomorrow.

Imagine reading hundreds of pages written in a dull prose style with little variation to the story. Reading SJ Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep is a maddening experience. For about 85% of the book (I know because I read this on a Kindle), NOTHING HAPPENS. Christine wakes up, she reads her journal (which is the novel we are reading) and relearns things about her life. I can’t tell you how completely boring a reading experience this book was. The fact that it’s labelled “thriller” is a joke – there isn’t a single thrilling aspect to this story.

Some readers have complained about the conceit that this novel is Christine’s journal – that she constantly has to reference the fact that she’s run off to write in her journal while its fresh in her mind - and how this is unrealistic, especially as its written in a very deliberate novelistic style, etc. I get that, but I’ll forgive the novel that because that’s just the format of the tale. But I was often reminded of HP Lovecraft’s narrators who are always scribbling in their notebooks while the terror is right at their door… woooo, beware the corniness!

Hang on - maybe the ending saves it? Nope. The ending is arguably what breaks this novel beyond repair.

I guessed the twist ending long before it was revealed. Of course her husband “Ben” doesn’t turn out to be her real husband Ben but a crazy stalker impersonator. Except we’re meant to believe that this imposter was able to discharge Christine from a mental hospital without anyone asking for ID to prove he was who he said he was.

Furthermore, we’re supposed to believe that Christine – a person with massive mental problems that has left her hospitalised for significant lengths of time – would receive no follow-up visits from a nurse, psychologist or care-giver. See, in Britain we have the NHS, so most people have free healthcare. It doesn’t work exactly like that but I won’t get into the intricacies of it here. I’ll just say that someone like Christine would easily qualify for the kind of services that would send a professional to her home on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis.

The fact that we’re supposed to believe that a complete stranger could take a severely ill patient out of an institution and then keep them hostage for months on end without a healthcare professional doing a follow-up visit, or that her son or friends wouldn’t call or find out why they haven’t heard from her for months, is asking too much of this reader. It’s frankly insulting to think anyone would be so stupid as to swallow Watson’s scenario whole. And in the author’s bio it says he worked in the NHS for “many years” – how does he not know things like this?!

And Dr Nash – is he the world’s worst doctor? How did he not pick up on any of this in his multiple sessions with her? Also, instead of helping her, he ends up flirting with her! He’s an appalling medical “professional”! Then at the end Christine conveniently gets her memory back! Everything about the plot is hopelessly contrived. You can only suspend disbelief so far.

I can’t think of a single positive thing to say about this book. The characters are dull. The story is comatose until the last 15% of the book and then it’s a gibbering mess of nonsense. Watson’s writing is repetitious, flat and lifeless. The bulk of the novel is beyond boring and the ending beggars belief, it’s so bad. I cannot believe a single person would enjoy this dreck and yet there are literally thousands of people who have. I am stunned.

Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island is a masterpiece and a genuine thriller along similar lines to Before I Go To Sleep and I recommend reading that instead. I’m now going to do my best to forget this drivel but not the name of this writer, so I never have to suffer through another of his novels again!
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242 of 272 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Baffled by the Hype, 22 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Kindle Edition)
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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33 of 37 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 review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Kindle Edition)
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ran out of steam.., 2 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Kindle Edition)
For a while, I was thoroughly absorbed in this unusual story of an amnesiac who had to begin her life every morning. But half way through the book it seemed to run out of steam and become predictable so I felt myself saying 'yeah yeah, hurry up and get on with it' or words to that effect! As a first book, I applaud it but I felt the characters could have been more deftly drawn, as I did not care much about any of them, not even the poor amnesiac Christine. Great beginning, saggy middle and predictable ending.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engrossing, thrilling read, 3 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book. It was the first piece of fiction I bought for my Kindle and I couldn't put it down. I had feared that the premise wouldn't sustain the entire book, but it's brilliantly handled, sagging only in the third quarter but never to the point it becomes dull. The final twist? I should have seen it coming, but I didn't. I'll say no more, but this: buy this without delay and enjoy a real literary insight into a troubled, broken mind. Fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A sad let down, 19 Mar. 2015
By 
Ms. K. M. Kelleher "Simply books" (Bow, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Kindle Edition)
I had real high hopes for this book, originally I thought that it was based on a true story, but it quite quickly became obvious that it is fiction.

The story is about a woman who is unable to form new memories, and wakes every morning having forgotten the past 20 years of her life. She is encouraged to keep a journal by a Dr that she is meeting with secretly.

I'm going to try to word this in a way that doesn't ruin the outcome for others.
The idea is a great one, but there are so many holes is the way that the story is put together. The journal is meant to be written just before Christine sleeps. and she then read it the next day to remind herself of her own life story.

Firstly, it seems that her husband goes off to work every day and leaves a wife who is vulnerable, has dinner with her and then leaves her alone whilst she writes her journal (remember the journal is a secret)
Christine writes substantial amounts in her journal, and then proceeds to read it all the next day, after being informed by the dr where it is. She would have to spend the whole day just reading and writing. In my view, it would be impossible to adjust to your own situation every day and do that much reading.
Some of the language structure made it obvious that a man wrote this.
The level of detail that Christine writes in her journal is completely unrealistic. Stop reading now if you don't want to know anything of the end ... The journal is destroyed in a fire, and yet the detail is remembered ... minute detail.

The end was actually very predictable, I think that it was meant to be a twist but actually was quite obvious.
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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 Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson, 14 May 2014
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Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep

By S J Watson

Christine awakens in a strange room beside a man she does not recognise. She has no idea how she got there. Even worse, when she goes to the bathroom she believes she is in her twenties until she sees her forty-seven year old self in the mirror.
Photographs show her with the man she has slept beside. He assures her he is her husband, Ben, he loves her and he will take care of her. But, he explains, due to an accident she has lost the ability to remember things for more than a few hours. She can retain information over a day but as soon as she goes to sleep at night her memories are lost, every day starts like this one!
Christine discovers that she has been seeing a doctor without Ben's knowledge. He believes he can help her but Ben insists that it is pointless and cruel to put her through more and more tests and constantly raise false hopes. Dr Nash suggests that she start a journal in which she can record what she learns each day so that she can bring herself up to date by reading it each morning instead of starting each day from scratch. He phones her after her husband goes to work to tell her to get it from its hiding place and read it.
Contradictions start to become apparent. What Ben tells her one day is not necessarily what the journal tells her he has said on another! Christine is confused and desperate to find out the truth about her 'accident' and her life since. But who can she trust?

Before I go to Sleep is a very powerful first novel, a psychological thriller that keeps the reader guessing to the end. The creation of the atmosphere, of fear and vulnerability experienced by Christine is extremely successful. The characters are convincing and plausible. The book engages the reader totally.
I read this as a book-club read or I might have missed it. I was not sure I liked the sound of it but I was so wrong. Brilliant!

Sue Almond

May 2014
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Before I Go To Sleep
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