Every day in S.J. Watson‘s riveting novel, Before I Go To Sleep, Christine wakes up next to a middle-aged stranger and, ashamed, creeps to the bathroom to discover that she is no longer in her twenties. She is also middle-aged and married to Ben, the man she has left behind in bed. Every day she learns the pertinent details of her life through a series of messages posted on her bathroom mirror, but this does little to answer her lingering questions or to resolve her feelings of doubt about her relationship with her husband. After Ben has left for work, Christine gets a call from a therapist, whom unbeknownst to her (of course!), she has been seeing secretly. He directs her to a journal she has been keeping, and on the inside cover Christine has left herself a message, “Don’t trust Ben!”
I read Before I Go To Sleep in the only way that you can read this book…in a few short sittings. The premise of the novel is one that could easily wear on the reader. After all, Christine has no memory, so theoretically both she and the reader should be finding out the same things day after day, but Watson cleverly starts the day in different places so that different information is constantly coming to light. The horror of Christine’s situation is unimaginable, and firmly ensconced in Christine’s point of view the reader has no choice but to sweat it out with her as she tries to remember the accident that left her in the damaged condition she finds herself in every day, and the dilemma of whether to trust her therapist or her husband.
Strong, smart writing and characterization of Christine’s situation makes this a delightfully suspenseful page turner. Recommended.