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Customer Review

87 of 101 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Almost put ME to sleep!, 23 May 2011
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This review is from: Before I Go To Sleep (Hardcover)
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.
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Showing 1-10 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Jun 2011, 11:40:11 BST
nadia says:
Your review is really helpful and accurate. I agree with you, having read the book. I thought the plot was absolutely full of holes and the characters were not full enough to make up for it....Perhaps it is one of those rare books that will be improved when it is made into a film.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jun 2011, 05:59:17 BST
Last edited by the author on 19 Jun 2011, 05:59:53 BST
LillyandGish says:
POSSIBLE SPOILER

That's the big twist? That Ben isn't really Ben, but some guy she knew twenty years ago? :O That's no twist at all! And I suppose the fake Ben dies and Christine goes back to the "real" Ben, or the fake Ben has killed the real Ben before taking his place. How trite! No wonder her friends and family couldn't be around! I suppose the fake Ben kept them away.

It's a shame books like this command a huge selling price and the public is sucked in.

POSSIBLE SPOILER

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jun 2011, 21:25:23 BST
booksy says:
Yes, that's it! And it was a lot of laboured reading to finally get to it! It was also very contrived as to why her family weren't around (she'd been told her son was dead and her real husband had been abroad for a few months at exactly the same time the impostor checked her out of the care facility!).

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jun 2011, 15:22:54 BST
LillyandGish says:
Oh, dear! It all sounds so contrived, as you said. A thriller takes some contrivance, but it shouldn't show! And the coincidence is this book is too much. I can accept maybe one small coincidence since coincidence is a part of life, but not a coincidence that drives the plot like this.

Thank you for your review. You saved me some money, and I'm sure I enjoyed your review more than I would have enjoyed the book.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Jun 2011, 19:43:51 BST
booksy says:
Haa, thanks!

Posted on 29 Jul 2011, 00:19:57 BST
Thank you for your review. I was right on the verge of purchasing, but now will continue to look for that elusive beast - a great thriller that is believable!

Posted on 18 Aug 2011, 11:30:23 BST
Woodworm says:
I couldn't agree with you more. When I read this I actually got the giggles, imagining the fake Ben in a starter's block position ready to run off at his first opportuinty. Too far fetched, and the ending seemed very rushed in comparison with the overlong build up at the start of the book.

Posted on 17 Sep 2011, 16:14:46 BST
Jackie says:
The most far fetched boring book I've ever read

Posted on 3 Jan 2012, 15:13:57 GMT
I've finally read this novel (am I the last person in the world to do so?) and very much agree with your review. Full of holes, no suspense, flat characters, not credible....etc.

Posted on 8 Jan 2012, 17:33:57 GMT
Anon says:
Brilliant review, thanks so much for saving me the money. It sounds awful beyond belief, such a lame plot and no way would someone be able to get a person out of a care home like that.
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