When I recently asked on my social media channels what I should read next from my TBR list, the majority of the answers came back for me to read Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson. I’d heard of the book before and had a general premise of what the book was about so I was keen to jump in and see if it could surprise me in any way.
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Before I Go To Sleep tells the story of Christine who wakes up every single day having forgotten what happened the day before. She’s been told by her husband that she had an accident over 20 years ago which caused her to have amnesia which is why she also thinks she’s in her 20s every time she wakes.
However, Christine is keeping a diary and so every morning finds this diary and reminds herself of her life, adding to it every day to try and help herself build up a better picture of what’s going on and what has gone on.
Before I Go To Sleep plot – 4/5
In Before I Go To Sleep you spend most of the time trying to guess the obvious twists that’s coming before it does. There are many red herrings that are littered throughout the story to try and misguide you with your guesses but inevitably, despite all of my guesses, I can’t sit here and tell you that I 100% guessed the twist which makes a nice change.
I will admit, a lot of the book felt overwritten. I feel like Watson had a beginning, a middle and an end but the middle was dragged out quite significantly due to the simple fact that they had no idea what else they could get Christine to do with her life in between realising she has amnesia and the final big reveal at the end of the book. Therefore this did result in the plot in the middle feeling a little slow and dragged out.
The final 100 pages or so were quite good though. Yes, again it dragged some bits out but overall it was quite tense and the final reveal was very satisfying!
Before I Go To Sleep characters – 3/5
One area that often suffers when trying to focus so hard on writing a good twist is the characters. What makes this book even more complicated is that our main character has to remember her personality every single day. Watson does a great job of having her constantly confused and includes the fact there are obvious things she wouldn’t know how to do or use because she’s essentially missed 20-odd years of technology and such. However, I can’t honestly say Christine was particularly engaging. But then I’m not sure she was ever going to be.
And it’s not like any of the other supporting characters are particularly engaging either. There’s a best friend and a doctor who Christine meets but neither of those are particularly memorable either. They both suffer from essentially only being there to further the plot with their dialogue rather than actually building any connection between the characters.
If more characters could be built, I may have found the story between the start and the end a little more riveting too.
Before I Go To Sleep final rating – 4
Before I Go To Sleep has a very exciting premise. A woman loses her memory every day and wakes up every day forgetting who many people in her life are. However, when some things beg7in to not add up and she’s really not sure who she can trust anymore, she’s determined to find out more answers to the questions that keep popping up. However, a cast of unloveable characters and a very dry middle section of the story stops this from being an absolute banger of a book.
I’d probably still recommend it to a lot of people but I wouldn’t class it as anything special.
If you like the sound of Before I Go To Sleep you may enjoy my review of these other books: