Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4,507
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Library Binding|Change
Price:£21.33+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

VINE VOICEon 27 March 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!
1717 comments| 1,144 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 21 February 2011
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.
22 comments| 381 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 January 2012
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'
7777 comments| 261 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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.
0Comment| 129 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 July 2011
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.
22 comments| 81 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 January 2012
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 ...
1515 comments| 97 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 February 2012
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.
0Comment| 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 November 2014
(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!
22 comments| 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 May 2011
Note: Plot spoiler in 3rd para.

For me, this book just didn't work on any level. The main narrative device - the journal - didn't ring true; and this is because that's all it was (a device used to move the plot forwards in a very clunky manner). For it to ring true in any way, it would have to have been written like a real journal - instead, it was written like a novel. It became particularly unbelievable towards the end when the character was still writing lengthy prose in a situation which would have called for quick notes and jottings. It felt like oh so much padding, simply because the plot alone was rather thin. We have a whole letter narrated in the journal (and then physically placed inside the journal by the character). Again, this spoils any element of reality. Someone wouldn't sit there copying out the contents of a letter into a journal (they'd simply mention the letter and place it inside). But, of course, we need this artifice because, otherwise, the author would have nothing to write about. After all, this is an ongoing and dreary repetition of the fact that the narrator wakes without memory each day.

Then, suddenly, towards the end, we lose the device entirely and enter into a first person narrative that simply couldn't be sustained given the narrator's memory issues (which has been the crux of the novel thus far - and is made all them more confusing because there is no change whatsoever in the tone of voice).

The final kicker for me (plot spoiler ahead) is when we're supposed to believe that she's only been out of her care home for 4 months (taken out by her imposter lover) ... so we're really expected to believe that some bloke she had a brief fling with 20-odd years ago has waited all that time for an opportunity to be with her. Come on! Oh, and how convenient that the staff at the care home didn't know what her real husband looked like. As if they would allow a release form to be signed on behalf of someone with no memory under such dubious circumstances. This really was a book that was plot for plot's sake without any substance or edge or truth, reality or credibility behind it at all.
2222 comments| 83 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 May 2011
I haven't enjoyed reading a book so much in years. I'm usually so completely busy with work, life, home, and just about everything else there is that I rarely have time to sit and have a good read. Then I can't find anything to read that holds my attention right to the end . Many people will be appalled by my admission that I often read the end of a book before I finish it because I get bored and impatient.

However, for the first time in a very long time I read this book right through to the end without flipping to the back pages. I was so gripped by the excellent story and the great writing that I grabbed every spare minute to sit and read it and completed it in a record breaking two days.I would joyfully have read it in one sitting had it not been for the irritating distractions of normal life having to continue!

A great story with an unpredictable twist. I thought I had got it towards the end but how wrong I was!

I'm really looking forward S J Watson's next book.
22 comments| 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items

£3.85

Need customer service? Click here