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1,085 of 1,136 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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24 of 26 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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1,085 of 1,136 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, 19 Jun 2013
By 
Laura Hartley (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Paperback)
I'm not sure why, but when I picked this up about a year ago in the charity shop, I was under the impression that this was a young adult book, but I can assure you, it is not. Before I Go To Sleep is a chilling thriller about a woman who suffers from a severe form of amnesia that means that everytime she falls asleep she loses most of her memories and wakes up thinking that she is still in her mid-twenties. She has absolutely no recollection of the accident that caused her amnesia or the fact that the man she wakes up next to everyday is her husband, Ben. Every morning Ben explains the situation to her and Christine keeps herself busy in the house until Ben comes home from work. One day, she receives a call from a young doctor who wishes to try and help her regain her memories. She starts seeing him in secret, her husband would not allow her to see any more doctors for fear it would 'distress' her further, and he suggests that Christine should start writing a diary of everything that she has learnt each day so that she read it back to herself later. In this way, Christine starts to remember more and more of her past and as she re-reads past diary entries she starts to doubt the people that she trusts and wonders who is really telling the truth. This story is about Christine's journey to finding her memory.

This book starts off with an exchange between Dr Nash and Christine as he returns her notebook to her. She has already been writing in it for a few weeks and finally decided that she was ready for Dr Nash to read its contents, though of course, when she woke up that morning, she had no recollection of ever giving him the notebook, or that it even existed. This exchange is soon followed by all the diary entries that Christine ever wrote in her diary and it ends with Christine back in the present dealing with the events that follow the re-reading of her diary.

As the main character of this book is an amnesiac, we are constantly shrouded in mist as we trudge our way through this novel. There are so many mysteries and it's almost impossible to predict what's coming next, because, of course, Christine can't retain any of her memories. It's obvious that something is amiss in Christine's life but you're not really sure what because it's impossible to know who's telling the truth and who isn't. As we go through the novel we learn more and more bits about Christine's past but you're still not really sure whether her memories are real or whether they're just dreams.

I wouldn't say that any of the charcters are particularly likable but you certainly feel a sense of sympathy for Christine. It's all written from the first person perspective so you know exactly how Christine feels at each moment and she's the only character you can really connect. There aren't very many characters so this book is quite intense and I was totally absorbed whilst reading it.

The best way to describe this book would be to imagine that you, as a reader, are collecting more and more puzzle pieces as you work your way through this book, but you don't have any idea what the bigger picture is until you reach the very end. I absolutely zoomed through this book because I was so desperate to find out the truth. I could not have been more surprised at the ending and you're literally second guessing everything until the very end. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I am not a fan of thrillers but this book is one of the most interesting and intense books I've ever read.
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355 of 382 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
(VINE VOICE)   
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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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson, 28 Feb 2012
By 
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Forgettable, 11 Nov 2014
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 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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223 of 252 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great thriller!, 3 Sep 2014
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Paperback)
I never read a review on a book before I read it...in this case I'm glad that I do this as some of the reviews of this book on good reads now I've read the book and read them are not great.

I absolutely loved this book! I totally lost myself in Christine's world often feeling sorry for her and imagining what it would be like in her position.. How scared she must be etc. I must admit I imagined a different ending but the ending Watson writes is excellent in my opinion. I don't do spoilers in reviews so will not go into anymore.

Reading some of the reviews the type of amnesia Christine has it appears may be slightly made up etc but it is important to remember that people suffer from amnesia with many cases being severe it must be hard and difficult to live with for them and their families.

The film of this book is coming out next week and I'm looking forward to it!
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70 of 80 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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16 of 18 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 
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Kindle Edition)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite meet the hype, 20 Sep 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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Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson
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