Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{June 1, 2011}   {Review} Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

From Netgalley: Every morning, Christine awakens beside a stranger in an unfamiliar bed. She sees a middle-aged face in the bathroom mirror that she does not recognize. And every morning, the man patiently explains that he is Ben, her husband, that she is forty-seven-years-old, and that an accident long ago damaged her ability to remember.

In place of memories Christine has a handful of pictures, a whiteboard in the kitchen, and a journal, hidden in a closet. She knows about the journal because Dr. Ed Nash, a neurologist who claims to be treating her without Ben’s knowledge, reminds her about it each day. Inside its pages, the damaged woman has begun meticulously recording her daily events—sessions with Dr. Nash, snippets of information that Ben shares, flashes of her former self that briefly, miraculously appear.

But as the pages accumulate, inconsistencies begin to emerge, raising disturbing questions that Christine is determined to find answers to. And the more she pieces together the shards of her broken life, the closer she gets to the truth . . . and the more terrifying and deadly it is.


HarperCollins has been extremely gracious to allow me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on June 14th, 2011.  Although it’s already out in the UK, it hasn’t yet hit US bookshelves, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a hardcopy of this novel… it’s AMAZING!  Imagine waking up every morning not knowing where you are, not recognizing the man in your bed, or the face in the mirror?  What if, each morning, you had to be reintroduced to your husband, learn what a cell phone is, trust a strange man who says he’s your doctor, but won’t let you tell your husband about him… what would you do, if you couldn’t remember?  Who would you trust?

I spent the entire novel glued to the pages—the story was so gripping and filled with suspense that I couldn’t put it down.  Watson is a genius; her writing floats off the page and captures the reader, making it impossible to do anything else but read on to find the truth.  Chrissy suffers from amnesia, unable to remember more than a day at a time, and as the story progresses, Watson creates a magnificent “who done it” suspense novel.  At one point or another, like Chrissy, I accused each character, making them the prime suspect, only to find out I wasn’t even close to the truth.  I really love novels that cause me to change my opinions so rapidly, and I loved the suspense behind it all—my chest actually ached as I read; all the pent up anxiety for Chrissy had me so nervous that I couldn’t put it down.

I love this story, as you can tell, and Watson’s writing style and characterization are both beautiful.  I can’t get over how well the story flows together, and how perfectly the pieces all fall into place.  I loved being in the dark along with Chrissy, trying to figure it all out, and it wasn’t until the very end that I finally had that “aha” moment, only one half step ahead of Chrissy.  I can’t get over the finale and the suspense leading up to it… there is so much betrayal and intrigue within this novel, and it’s just superb!  I especially love that this novel takes place over the course of one day.  Chrissy wakes up disoriented, meets her husband, learns a little about her life and amnesia, and is then directed to her journal, where she writes down each day’s proceedings in hopes of remembering.  Most of the book revolves around Chrissy reading the sections of her journal, beginning with November 9th, and it is as Chrissy reads her own story that she begins to piece together her life.  Yet, not everything adds up, and it’s the constant shocks the reader has as snippets are revealed that make this novel amazing.  I would recommend this novel for adults, mainly because Chrissy journals a bit about her sexual escapades with her husband, and some of it is intense, so I feel like this novel would be best suited for 18+.  Five stars!

5 stars

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