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1,056 of 1,103 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

versus
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent concept, poor delivery
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...
Published 16 days ago by Lauren N. Davies


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1,056 of 1,103 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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341 of 365 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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent concept, poor delivery, 3 Sep 2014
By 
Lauren N. Davies (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Kindle Edition)
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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206 of 233 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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16 of 18 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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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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95 of 108 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wildly overhyped, 13 Jan 2012
By 
A. Linton (Manchester, Manchester United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Paperback)
Clearly the publishers are trying to establish this author as a new star but the plethora of praise from many distinguished writers only irritated me - I'd rather make up my own mind, and this kind of over the top endorsement only makes me suspicious that the novel won't live up to expectations. Which proved to be the case - it is an ok, somewhat plodding thriller not a masterpiece.

The plot - amnesiac woman ends up living with husband she doesn't remember or trust is hardly original - off the top of my head I remember reading a similar, though much more exciting effort from Joy Fielding, called 'See Jane Run' some years ago. The twist that separates this from the other hundreds of novels featuring amnesia is that the protagonist also suffers from short term memory loss (as in the film '50 first dates') and has to be reminded of her life every morning. The opening pages where Christine wakes up in a bed with a strange middle-aged man (believing she is still a young woman) are easily the best thing about the novel, but sadly the novelty soon wears off and we are saddled with a cumbersome narrative, based around her keeping a daily journal. I actually found it quite hard to keep track of when she was writing or when we were in real time and I found it a little unbelieveable that she wrote pages of fullsome descriptions of characters/events when a few terse notes warning her future self of important meetings/facts she had discovered would have been more appropriate.

The writing is somewhat generic - the day by day narrative really allows for little character development and the villain of the piece is pretty obvious right from the start which rather spoiled it as a thriller for me. The story really flags about halfway through the book, and then picks up again, but the ending was pretty apparent to me long before it arrived. A lot of the stuff that happens doesn't seem particularly likely either and the whole thing is heavily contrived - I wasn't at all surprised to read that it was the product of some sort of creative writing course - that's what it feels like to read. Ok I guess for a first effort but I probably wouldn't rush to buy a new book from this author ...
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129 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable and chilling - an excellent psychological thriller!, 10 Mar 2011
By 
joc66 (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Hardcover)
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The central character of this haunting first novel is Christine, a woman who wakes up each morning with her mind trapped years in the past, and no recent memories with which to make sense of her world. Each day she must be told that the man she is living with is her husband, and so much more about her life since her memories stopped, and each day, relive the heartbreaks and some of the happy moments as if they were happening anew. Gradually, with the help of a doctor, Christine manages to reconnect some of her past life using a journal to record what she knows about her life, and the writer cleverly puts the reader into the position of Christine, as she reads this journal and tries to make sense of the present in the context of her past. Our memories are an integral part of who we are, and the way we connect one day with the next. Without them, life is bleak, disconnected and confused. The writer really does convey the tragedy of amnesia very well, and on top of this has created a cleverly structured and menacing thriller. The pages turned quickly and easily and although the twist in the plot is perhaps relatively easy to guess it still feels shocking when it is revealed.
An excellent first novel which I thoroughly recommend.
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69 of 79 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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81 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW. A stunning debut., 22 July 2011
By 
When Tess Gerritsen writes the blurb on the front cover that "quite simply this is the best debut novel I've ever read" you think it must be a cracker. You hope that she didn't just say that as a literary "favour". She didn't. She is right. This is the best debut novel I've ever read. I read a heck of a lot and this is easily in my top five of all time.
I met the author at a book signing and decided to buy the book on the back of his sales pitch.
The main character Christine has severe amnesia after an accident. She wakes up every morning thinking she is 27 years old when in fact she is 47 and has no memory of the last 20 years. Every morning she wakes up next to her husband, Ben, who is a stranger to her and has to begin a monotonous and frightening routine of understanding her condition. The relationship between Ben and Christine is a repetitive, compelling dynamic and you ask yourself quickly, would I be able to cope with this if my partner suffered this condition?
Christine begins working with a new consultant who insists she make a journal of her day. This way she can log events and see if it helps with her memory. Each morning she wakes up and reads the journal to get some continuity to her life. At the end of the first chapter, Christine wakes up one morning as she does every other morning unaware of where she is or what her life has become. She opens her diary and sees three words..."don't trust Ben. "

It's a fabulous thriller. I read it literally in one day, two sittings. It manages to be a powerful psychological thriller without any gratuitous sex and very little swearing. It is edgy, uncomfortable in parts and what is brilliant about the story telling is that we as readers join Christine in trying to unravel her life. There are twists, shocks, and you never know who to believe or what is going on. Towards the end there are a few liberties taken in terms of plot but it's nothing Hollywoodesque.

The book reminded me a little of "The Collector" by John Fowles a book which was written in the 70's. Very similar in terms of uncomfortable psychological thriller.

SJ Watson is a new star in the literary world. I read that Ridley Scott has snapped up the movie rights for this film and I can see why.

Stellar debut. Fantastic plot with a sledge hammer ending.
Mr Watson I am a fan.
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Before I Go To Sleep
Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson
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