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Before I Go to Sleep

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Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.

Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.

359 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2011

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About the author

S.J. Watson

10 books3,915 followers
S J Watson was born in the UK, lives in London and worked in the NHS for a number of years.

In 2011 Watson's debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, was released to critical acclaim. It has now been published in over 40 languages, and has become an international bestseller, winning numerous awards.

The movie of Before I Go To Sleep, starrring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, was released in 2014. Second Life, Watson's second book, is out now, and has already been a top ten bestseller.

S J Watson's new novel. FINAL CUT, is out in August 2020.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 24,254 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
October 1, 2015
“What are we, if not an accumulation of our memories?”

I've had my eye on this book since before it was released and last night I decided it was finally time. I really wanted a psychological thriller that would keep me guessing. And did it deliver? Well, let's just say I was up until 2am, partly because this book is unputdownable, and partly because it's a little hard to turn the light off and go to sleep afterwards.

Before I Go to Sleep is about a woman called Christine who wakes up every morning with no memory of who she is. Through labeled pictures and the help of her husband, every day she pieces together her life and learns of the accident that made her this way. But then a visit from a mysterious doctor leads her towards the private journal she has been writing to herself - a journal that tells her things might not be as they seem and the one person she should be able to trust could be lying.

Personally, I found this book so thrilling. I loved almost everything about it. Christine was a complex and interesting character - I was pulled so far inside her mind that the novel's events literally made my heart pound. I love how creepy the novel is and I very much enjoyed almost but not quite figuring out the reveals at the end.

For me, the best kind of thrillers are those where the story is strong enough that it isn't ruined by an astute reader. In other words - if you guess what is going to happen, it doesn't really matter. And I think this is one of those books. Towards the end, I started to figure things out, but rather than being disappointed, it made me hang on the author's every word in anticipation and horror.

Also, the reveals are multi-layered. So there is not just one big twist/reveal, but many things to discover over the course of the book. I like this much more.

The biggest complaints from people who didn't like this book are a) it is as realistic as The Time Traveler's Wife and b) it gets a little repetitive around the middle. Both are true, but neither bothered me. I'll tell you why.

The book gets a little repetitive when Christine must first read her journal every day to understand everything. The book obviously doesn't go into details each time, but I can understand why people didn't like it. I, on the other hand, didn't mind. In fact, I thought it dragged out the suspense even more and had me mentally freaking out over what would come next. I was never bored for a second.

As for being realistic, the author manufactures a fictional type of amnesia in order for the story to work - an amnesia in which Christine remembers almost nothing of her short term memory, but is able to retain her short term memory for the length of her waking hours. It is reset overnight. But, to be honest, I absolutely love reading about weird rare illnesses, particularly psychological ones. And there are so many strange, unbelievable illnesses out there that it wasn't difficult for me to suspend disbelief and imagine that a rare amnesia of this sort could exist.

If you think, like me, you could overlook the issues above, I don't see why you wouldn't like this. Very different, very unsettling, and very enjoyable.

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280 reviews81 followers
March 8, 2019
I only read reviews on Goodreads after I have read a book. I do this because after reading those reviews I wonder if I have read the same book as those reviewing it. Most start by giving a somewhat lengthly explanation of the plot of the book. Why? tell me what you thought. I know what it is about. I want to know what you thought of it. At this point I get really crazy because the opinions almost always are positive. I wish these people were my high school English teachers. I would have gotten A's for anything I wrote.
This book has one thing going for it- a clever premise. After that it sinks quickly with an annoying narrator, bad writing, and a predictable ending. I used to wonder what many people get out of reading bad books. I now know. They think they are good books. Good luck. That is why James Patterson is making a fortune.
Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,909 followers
June 25, 2012
I can overlook a lot of bogus-tude for a good story, but this one exceeded my implausibility tolerance threshold. The analytical portion of my brain wants to give this an even lower rating, but it did hold my interest, so I have to be fair. It has a sinister edge that keeps you reading---at least until you start figuring everything out long before it's revealed.

If I listed all the laughable incongruities and convenient coincidences, I'd ruin it for people who just want an absorbing escape read. If you're capable of turning off the eye-rolling, "hey, no way!" part of your mind, you'll probably love it.
S.J. Watson, I wince in your general direction. I scoff at your predictability. But hey, 'gratties on the movie option.
Profile Image for Alex.
590 reviews135 followers
December 1, 2011
I think I tend to judge books more harshly when I listen to them because I can't skim the text or skip parts that bore me. BUT I DON'T KNOW. MAYBE THAT'S JUST MORE HONEST.

Before I Go to Sleep is a highly improbable novel that's practically a fantasy. A very slow, drawn-out, horribly written fantasy. Christine, the protagonist, wakes up in a strange bed with a strange man. He tells her he's her husband, Ben, and she has amnesia -- she cannot form short-term memories. Think Memento. Hey, in fact, this book is just like that movie! Determined to figure out the mystery of her past, Christine sees a doctor in secret and keeps a day-to-day journal. That's pretty much all you need to know.

The bulk of the book is Christine rereading her journal. Which is just ENDLESS accounts about how confusing and terrifying things are. Ugh, we get the point. Perhaps that would be realistic, but it's hardly INTERESTING for the reader. Throughout the book, one finds out (as Christine does) that her husband is lying to her about how she got amnesia (she was attacked; he tells her it's a car accident), her son (he says they have no kids; they had a son), her best friend moving away (nope), etc etc. Obviously something is creepily wrong, and yet Christine is like, "Hmmm. GUESS I'LL JUST STAY HERE WITH THIS CREEPY LYING DUDE."

We also discover that Christine was having an affair when she was attacked. WHICH IS ALSO WHEN I CALLED IT THAT BEN WAS ACTUALLY THE DUDE SHE WAS SLEEPING WITH. I didn't quite know how that was going to work, but when Claire (her best friend) was all, "GIRL THAT AIN'T BEN", I was like, "WHAT REALLY YOU WENT THERE, YOU FUCKER????"

BASICALLY, the dude Christine was having her affair with was super obsessed with her to the point of LUNATIC CRAZY and when she tried to break the whole thing off, he went BATSHIT and TRIED TO DROWN HER IN A HOTEL BATHROOM. Then, because her memory was so shoddy and awful, her loving husband Ben (apparently in this world "loving" means that he's a handsome successful vegan architect) is all like, "I CAN'T HANDLE THIS. I MUST LEAVE BECAUSE I LOVE YOU TOO MUCH AND THIS I AM CAUSING YOU SO MUCH DISTRESS. I'M GOING TO TAKE OUR SON AND LEAVE YOU IN THIS REHABILITATION CENTER." So then Crazy Dude, who's been staring at her through windows and shit this whole time, swoops in and...manages to convince the staff that HE's Ben (?????????????) and is all, "YUP I'M TOTES BEN. I'M GOING TO TAKE MY WIFE HOME NOW." So she's been living with CRAZY UNHINGED DUDE this WHOLE TIME and he's been masquerading as her husband!

I can't really go into how much I thought the plot sucked (it did; a lot, in case you were wondering) because my brain might implode. But one thing I do want to vent about is: HOW IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE TO GET SOMEONE OUT OF A REHAB CENTER BY PRETENDING TO BE THEIR HUSBAND???? DO PEOPLE NOT CHECK RECORDS ANYMORE???? WHAT IS THIS SHIT??? DO REHAB CENTERS JUST LET ANYONE WALTZ OFF WITH CRITICAL AMNESIACS???? WTF????

That aside, MAN, this writing was AWFUL. The audiobook narrator did not help. She had this grating voice and whenever she read Claire, I wanted to throw my iPod out my car window. Christine is a HORRIBLE character. I mean, I was SO SHOCKED that the author was a man (haha, jk, not at all)! Once again, we have a female protagonist with no autonomy. And this time it's because her horrible cheating made it so! Ladies, no sex for you outside marriage even though dudes do it all the time, because your lover will probably try to asphyxiate you on a tile floor and then stalk you for years and years only to kidnap you and keep you hostage with him in his love shack. ISN'T THAT ALWAYS THE CASE?

Also, everything was SO SLOW. The fight scene at the end when she's trying to escape from Ben/Mike and she's all like, "I should've probably hit him again..." when she FINALLY manages to wrench herself free from his violent attack and you're like, "NO SHIT SHERLOCK" and then he GRABS HER AGAIN AND THROWS HER TO THE FLOOR. COULD'VE JUST BEAMED HIM IN THE HEAD AGAIN WITH THAT STOOL AND SAVED US ALL A LOT OF TIME, YOU WORTHLESS EXCUSE FOR A CHARACTER. Oh, this is a good segue into the gratuitous violence of the book. All the scenes with violence in them (few, but they are pretty intense) are UGGGGGGH. It was like, "and then I cracked my head against the radiator!" "and then he shoved me to the floor and my arm twisted behind my back!" "and then his hands were around my throat and I couldn't breathe!" I was SQUIRMING on the train. I CANNOT DEAL. And, I know why this book had to be narrated in first-person present, but IT WAS SO AWFUL I CANNOT EVEN.

Bee tee dubs, the character of Claire makes NO SENSE to me at all. She's supposed to be Christine's BFF and she just doesn't talk to or try to see her anymore? WOULDN'T THAT BE A LITTLE SUSPICIOUS????? If my best friend got AMNESIA and couldn't remember anything, I WOULD BE THERE EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY. EVEN if I slept with her stupid husband, I would NEVER lose contact with her. CLAIRE, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY THE WORST FRIEND EVER. CONGRATULATIONS.

Dear Adam -- you suck as a son. Dear Ben -- you suck at still being in love with Christine and letting some dude pretend to be you to steal her out of the clinic. This book is really just a presentation of THE WORST PEOPLE TO HAVE IN YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR MEMORY.

Congrats, SJ Watson. I'm so glad your first book is a PILE OF SHIT.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jason.
137 reviews2,297 followers
July 24, 2012
My negative attitude is a ruse, I swear it. I am such a positive little outlooker. Nearly every book I read starts off with five stars in my head. It barely has to earn anything; it just has to hold on to what it started with. But wow, this book fell off a cliff or something! What the hell happened??

First let’s back the truck out of these plot holes and start from the beginning.

The premise of this psychological thriller is fairly straightforward. The first person narrator has amnesia. More specifically, she has a mythical combination of several different forms of amnesia which happen to co-exist simultaneously at the exact same time. Maybe that should have been my first clue. She has retrograde amnesia as a result of a mysterious traumatic episode that occurred years earlier, and on top of this she has anterograde amnesia which affects her episodic memory: she cannot retain anything new. My second clue that this book would be an eye roller is that she has a short-term memory capacity of many hours—essentially an entire day’s worth—and it is erased only when she falls asleep, which flagrantly stretches the definition of anterograde amnesia by a large margin.¹

So this unreliable narrator with her unreliable memory is trying to piece together the details of her life while basically having to start from scratch every day. I love the idea of this. I love the idea that without memory retention, one cannot build experiences and without experiences, he cannot forge interpersonal bonds with others, which means he cannot develop relationships or attain any kind of emotional maturity or love. He cannot even experience the feeling of anticipation because it would require a preexisting sense of future combined with a knowledge of the past, both of which are conspicuously absent when you have to be reminded every morning that you have amnesia to begin with. There is no future, there is no past, there is no anticipation of anything. It is only the here and now. Because of my interest in this I was able to suspend my beliefs a bit regarding the nuances of the narrator’s form of amnesia.

Still, Watson manages to muck it all up. The narrator’s sense of mistrust, confusion, and paranoia are there, but the frustration of her existence is glossed over at each subsequent sunrise for the sake of plot progression. And the ending, OH GOD THE ENDING. It devolves so quickly to predictable Sleeping with the Enemy–style fare that all enthusiasm for the psychological part of the story is lost. Truly, I think this could have been a decent novel, I really do. Watson’s clichéd structure, though, leaves too much to be desired and the book simply does not live up to its potential.

¹After writing this review, I came across a blog post by the author who sort of corroborates my assertion that the narrator’s form of anterograde amnesia is somewhat of a fabrication. Sort of.
Profile Image for Mo Shah.
188 reviews6 followers
July 13, 2011
Argh. What a frustrating book. I want someone else I know to read it so I can discuss it with them, to see if they agree with my conclusion. Sarah, you should read it and let me know what you think.

I really really liked this book in the beginning. The concept, while not strictly novel (I can recall maybe half a dozen stories where amnesia like this features prominently) is utilized to great effect. The mystery is initially built quite satisfactorily, and you're drawn in as a reader.

Fairly soon, however, the concept frays a bit and you have to suspend a little bit of disbelief to get through the book. There were holes that I saw - not insurmountable ones, but still distracting. I saw the ending (I won't ruin it) coming from a mile away, only because you know with a book like this it *needs* a twist of some sort, and there was only one particular twist that made sense. Even so, the ending was a let down, because what should have been something emotionally laden was handled like an afterthought.

With a bit of editing and some revision, this could have been a much more engaging book. The first half works really well, and then it sort of deflates for me. Too bad it didn't finish as strong.
Profile Image for Lou.
879 reviews859 followers
October 10, 2012
June 15th 2am 2011

I am writing this down in my journal
I must do this otherwise I fear tomorrow I might not remember anything.
Anything about the book I read today or about me or my wife, well she says she is.
I woke up this morning and my eyes were cast upon a striking beautiful woman in an even more striking body wearing nice lingerie that fits like a glove.
I have no idea at that moment who she is, she says she's my wife but I don't remember being married! I am trying to piece together my life.
All this is too much to muster I have been told I was in an accident I had fallen over an egg and banged my head. Strange but I don't remember this, this is what she my wife tells me.
I need to write this in my oh so important journal otherwise I will run through the same routine again and not recollect her or the egg.
Oh yes that book before I forget this book has inspired me to write more into this journal as the female protagonist is in same situation as me. Her story is ever so more gripping, its tense I am almost glued to the pages her quest is heart warming and heartbreaking I felt tears of joy and sadness on the completion of her story. The story is in the first-person narrative and flows in a visceral fashion. They say it can be cured what we have if we piece together our past and write, I hope so.
The story was something fresh and different well worth the read. When I wake up tomorrow I must remember on reading this journal that I have to share these thoughts and write a review.

Review also featured on my webpage >here and also
Watch SJ Watson on Richard and Judy book club
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
November 1, 2021
Before I Go to Sleep, S.J. Watson (Steven J.)

Before I Go to Sleep is the first novel by S. J. Watson published in Spring 2011.

The novel is a psychological thriller about a woman suffering from anterograde amnesia.

She wakes up every day with no knowledge of who she is and the novel follows her as she tries to reconstruct her memories from a journal she has been keeping.

She learns that she has been seeing a doctor who is helping her to recover her memory, that her name is Christine Lucas, that she is 47 years old and married and has a son. As her journal grows it casts doubts on the truth behind this knowledge as she determines to discover who she really is.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز ششم ماه نوامبر سال2016میلادی

عنوان: پیش از آن که بخوابم؛ اثر: استیون ج واتسون، مترجم: شقایق قندهاری؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، آموت، چاپ دوم سال1392، در382ص، شابک9786006605135؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

زن هیچ کجای اتاق را نمیشناسد، مردیکه کنارش خوابیده را نمیشناسد، آرام و بیصدا وارد سرویس بهداشتی میشود، و به آینه نگاه میکند؛ خدای من این دیگر کیست؟ من باید بیست و چند ساله باشم! نه میانسال؛ کتاب بر اساس تجربیات نویسنده، از حضور در کنار بیماران «آلزایمری»، نوشته شده است

نقل از متن: (آن‌ها باید به طریقی مرا آرام کرده، و راضی و متقاعدم کرده باشند، که همراه دکتر «ناش» بروم؛ چون موضوع بعدی که یادم می‌آید این است که داخل اتومبیلش بودم، و او رانندگی می‌کرد؛ کم‌کم ابرها داشتند آسمان را می‌پوشاند؛ خیابان‌ها کم‌کم داشت تاریک، و یک‌جورهایی صاف می‌شد؛ او حرف می‌زد، اما من تمرکز نداشتم؛ انگار ذهنم سردرگم، و وارد ورطه دیگری شده باشد، و حالا دیگر نمی‌توانستم خودم را، به آن برسانم؛ از پشت شیشه‌ ها، نگاهی به بیرون کردم؛ به مشتری‌های فروشگاه‌ها، و افرادی که قدم می‌زدند؛

مردمی که با کالسکه ی بچه راه می‌رفتند، یا چرخ خریدی را، به دنبال خ��د می‌کشیدند؛ می‌خواهم بدانم، که این جستجو در پی حقیقت؛ واقعاً همان چیزی بود، که می‌خواستم، و دنبالش بودم؛ بله، شاید به بهبود، و پیشرفتم کمک کند، ولی تا چه حد، آیا باید امیدوار باشم، که چیزی دستگیرم شود؟ توقع ندارم، روزی بیاید، که وقتی از خواب بیدار می‌شوم، همه‌ چیز، مثل مردمان عادی یادم بیاید؛ به‌ طوری‌ که بدانم، روز قبل چکار کرده‌ ام؛ برنامه‌ هایم، برای روز بعدی چیست؟ و چه مسیر گمراه‌ کننده‌ ای، مرا به این وضع و حال، و به اینجا رسانده است، و حالا هم خودم را به اینجا، و این مرحله از زندگیم رسانده‌ ام؛ در بهترین شرایط، می‌توانم امیدوار باشم، روزی برسد، که وقتی به آیینه نگاه می‌کنم، بدجوری جا نخورم؛ این‌که یادم باشد، با مردی به اسم «بن» ازدواج‌ کرده، و پسری به اسم «آدام» را، از دست داده‌ ام، و دیگر حتماً لازم نیست، نسخه‌ ای از رمانم را ببینم، تا بدانم که خودم آن را نوشته‌ ام

اما انگار، حتی همین حد هم، دور از دسترس است؛ به آنچه، در بخش «فیشر» دیده بودم، فکر کردم؛ دیوانگی؛ رنج و درد، و مغزهای به‌ هم‌ ریخته؛ فکر کردم: وضعیت من به آن‌ها نزدیک‌تر است، تا به بهبودی؛ شاید در نهایت، صلاح باشد بفهمم چطور با شرایط موجودم، کنار بيایم، و همانطور زندگی کنم؛ می‌توانستم به دکتر «ناش» بگویم، که دیگر نمی‌خواهم او را ببینم، و دفتر یادداشت‌های روزانه‌ ام را هم بسوزانم، و حقایقی را که تا به این لحظه کشف کرده بودم، دفن، و آن‌ها را در حد اعماق حقایقی که هنوز، از آن‌ها بی‌خبرم، مخفی کنم؛ این‌طور از گذشته‌ ام فرار می‌کنم، ولی جای پشیمانی ندارد، تا چند ساعت دیگر، حتی نمی‌دانم که دفتر یادداشت روزانه‌ ام، يا پزشکم، اصلاً وجود خارجی داشتند، و آن موقع می‌توانستم خیلی ساده و راحت، زندگی کنم)؛ پایان واگویی از متن

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 26/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 09/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Mandy.
320 reviews321 followers
March 23, 2017
Omg! I am totally speechless. This book was amazing. It had a great plot about a woman who has amnesia and cannot remember her memories from day to day. She begins to keep a journal and remember certain events in her life. From there the book is amazing! I definitely recommend this! If you want a page turning, psychologically thrilling, fall out of your chair book - read this!!!!!!! So damn good!

Side note: I've got to see the film!!!!!!!
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
532 reviews58.5k followers
September 29, 2020
This book was interesting to say the least!

Woman who can't retain new memories after an accident (wakes up every day not remembering the last), decides to try and improve her condition. She sees a doctor in secret and writes her daily life in a journal she hides from her husband.

I liked how you truly don't know for a while who to trust. Is she crazy? Is her husband lying? Her doctor?

My issues were mostly the weird body part descriptions... I-

Worth a shot!

Profile Image for jessica.
2,534 reviews32.5k followers
March 11, 2022
this felt more like a domestic drama for the vast majority of the story, rather than a mystery/thriller. but theres a turning point about 2/3 through where everything. kicks. off.

man, what a wild ride.

and such a unique story and perspective. i wasnt sure i was going to like the journal entries (which make up a big chunk of the novel) but, i have to say, they work so effectively. the journal entries really hype of the drama of a narrator who could or could not be reliable.

i really enjoyed this one.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Cassy.
195 reviews628 followers
July 8, 2011
Sometimes I get flipped around while I sleep. My head ends up where my feet should be. As I wake up and wave my hand in the air for the nightstand, the freak out begins. Where the heck am I? It only lasts a few seconds before I figure it out, but the depth of my disorientation during those few seconds is always surprising to me.

So, the book and I were off to a good start when, on the page one, Christine wakes up confused in a strange room. Unfortunately for her, it is not as simple as seeing the room in reverse. Every day she has to reacquaint herself with her husband, her house, the person in the mirror. Christine has a form of amnesia wherein, after an accident, she lost the ability retain memories past a day. As Christine starts keeping a journal to help her remember, she discovers some unsettling discrepancies between what her husband tells her, what her doctor knows of her history, and her own reemerging memories.

I bought this book at a favorite indie bookstore, Murder by the Book, where the staff is super knowledgeable and enthusiastic. No matter what book I carry to the cashier, two or three people behind the counter will share their favorite aspect of the book and start rattling off other books in the genre that I have to read. You don’t even have to ask them. They just start talking.

When I bought this one to the check-out, there was a dead silence. “What? Does it suck?” They started grinning. “Is it so bad it’s good?” Crickets. “Talk to me!” Finally, someone took pity on me. He explained the ending is so amazing and unexpected that they all agreed to keep their mouths shut and not spoil it for anyone. What a jerk.

If you read the book expecting a mind-blowing ending, you might be disappointed. The whole time I was reading, my mind was running on all cylinders trying to solve the mystery. I was coming up with crazy ideas – I mean really outlandish ideas. The aliens wiped her memory after she stumbled on a plot to steal all the antelopes in Uganda. Then they disguised one of their own as her husband to spy on her next door neighbor! Stop looking at me like that. The guy at the store said it would be totally unexpected.

When I finally got to the end, I was let down by how simultaneously unrealistic and ordinary it was. Honestly, it reminded me of another book, . My recommendation: read with more tempered expectations for the conclusion. Even if it was not the best ending of my life, it wasn’t horrible either. I just ruined it for myself with the hype.

Having written all that, I enjoyed this book! I suggest you focus Christine’s journey throughout the book. I was in sync with her as she vacillates between trust and suspicion toward every character – including herself. Plus my husband was out of town. Even if a book is only remotely creepy, there is something about reading it in an empty house that makes it seem like the scariest thing ever (see The Little Stranger). I also didn’t have any plans that weekend, which meant I could read this book in two long sessions and get wrapped up in everything. If I had read the book without those two conditions, the rating may have dropped to three stars.

You know what is coming next: my report from an event with the author!

Right off the bat, Watson admitted he had not done many of these events. He advised us that if we heard a tremor in his voice, it was not his British accent – it was jet lag mixed with terror. Aww! I loved him already.

Watson talked about how he had a “real” job testing children’s hearing. When he decided to focus more on his writing, he took step backwards in his health services career by taking a more junior job and cutting back his hours. What a bold move! He was inspired to write this book after reading an obituary about man who, after a surgery to cure his epilepsy, lost the ability to make memories.

One of the audience members put him on the spot and asked about comparisons to the movies, Memento and 50 First Dates. The lady was very nice, but everyone knew the underlying bite: did Watson rip them off? I thought he handled himself well. He admitted seeing Memento years and years ago. And he learned of and watched 50 First Dates only after hearing it mentioned so much when his book was published. He pointed out a key difference between Christine and Drew Barrymore character’s predicaments: Drew’s story was set fairly soon after the accident. Her loved ones could pretend everything was normal, because she was still young. Christine had aged a couple decades. It wasn't possible to keep up such a charade with all the wrinkles on her face. He also spoke of how he intentionally avoided all amnesia-related stories as he wrote.

Let’s review. Set aside time and read it alone. Savor Christine’s psychological roller coaster. Don’t stress too much about solving the mystery. Voila! You’re in for a sweet summer thriller.
Profile Image for Danielle.
806 reviews400 followers
February 3, 2021
2012 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B.

This book has been sitting on my TBR shelf for years. I’m not sure why it took me so long to pick it up. 🤔 Anyway.... It was a pretty good mystery/thriller. I did guess what the outcome would be. 😬 However, the idea of the journal keeping was pretty cool and I was still interested in the story. So overall, I’m happy with it.
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,618 followers
August 31, 2016
لا أعتقد إنك بسهولة ستتخلص من التفكير بمشاعر كريستين، بطلة الرواية، بعد قراءتها
شعور بإنك أستيقظت لتنظر في المرآة لتجد نفسك كبرت فجأة

عُمر قد مرق, ولاتعرف بمن تثق , من كذب ومن صدق , وماذا يخفيه البعض عنك؟
وكل ليلة يجب أن تراجع كل ما تعرفه.. قبل ما تنام

هذا هو حال البطلة ،راويّة الأحداث ،عقل مريض وذاكرة مشوشة، عقل مؤلفة روايات وأنت تقرأ ما تكتبه بمذكراتها..فماذا تتوقع؟

هذا هو حال كريستين .. حيث في يوم ما تستيقظ فاقدة ذاكرتها ، زوجها يخبرها إن هذا يتكرر يوميا ...بسبب حادث
عليه ان يذكرها بكل شئ..بما فيه انه زوجها قبل ان يذهب الي عمله

طبيبها يتصل بها، يخبرها إنه يعالجها دون معرفة زوجها ، يقدم لها مذكرات كتبتها علي مدار 3 أسابيع من بعد بدء جلسات علاجها سويا
تقرأ المذكرات المعنونة ب'لا تثقي ب'بين'' زوجها ، وتقرأ ما حدث في 3 أسابيع هي مدة المذكرات
لتفهم الحقيقة

كل يوم من اﻷيام الإثني عشر بمذكراتها هو يوم جديد في حياتها ،نفس فقدان الذاكرة ولكن بأعراض جديدة، ذكريات أخري تطفو وأخري تمحي ، أكاذيب أخري ...أو ربما هي ليست كذلك ، ربما هي بارانويا، ربما الاعيب عقل للإبتعاد عن صدمة ما يحاول العقل اخفاءها عن الذاكرة
بل والأدهي إنها تكتشف في ا��د تلك الأيام إنها كانت مؤلفة لرواية قبل الحادث

عقل مريض، عقل مؤلفة وأنت تقرأ ما تكتبه ...لا أعتقد أنه سهل أن تتوقع ما الحقيقة وما الوهم؟
ما هي الاعيب العقل وما هو خيال الروائية وماهي الحقيقة
وما هو الحد الفاصل بين كل هذا؟
قبل ان تنسي كل شئ
قبل ان تنام

هي فعلا حيرة ، رواية مكتوبة من وجهة نظر ذلك العقل المشوش ... أمور تتكرر كثيرا ، ستمل تكرارها ، ولكن ربما تجد نفسك تعيد أحداث يوما ما مرة أخري
وجدتني أظن أن هذه اﻷحداث قد تنتهي نهاية سعيدة خاصا باقتراب نهاية المذكرات -الاسابيع الثلاث- ،ولكني أكتشفت أني قد أكون مخطئا

بنهاية المذكرات وقبل العودة لليوم الذي بدأت به الأحداث بقراءة تلك المذكرات، وجدت نفسي أعود للبداية لإعادة قراءة اليوم الأول قبل استمرار الأحداث
حيرة وتخبط..هل زوجها يحبها ، هل هو مخلص ، لماذا يكذب ، ولماذا يكذب
هل يخشي عليها صدمة ما..هل يحاول حماية ذاكرتها من حادث مؤسف؟

الدكتور المعالج، هل هي تحبه ، هل هي مخلصة أم هي الخائنة ، هل تعتقد إن الكل يكذب ﻷنها لم تشفي بعد من أعراض البارانويا كما لم تشفي من فقدان الذاكرة ؟

ولكن بعد ذلك، بنهاية الأحداث أيقنت إن الرواية مبنية بشكل ليس جيد فحسب..وإنما ممتاز
لا يهم إذا ما كنت شاهدت مثل حالة كريستين في
Memento (2000)
50 First Dates (2004)
أو حتي تخلط بينها وبين حالة كريم عبد العزيز في الفيلم الساخر
فالرواية نفسية ، عقلية رهيبة , وقد نجحت في رسم مشاعر البطلة بشكل ,سيطارد عقلك حتي النهاية

ربما يعيبها فحسب مقاطع جنسية معدودة مكتوبة بتفصيل كان يمكن إختزالها-وليس حذفها عدا واحدة- ولكن كما قلت هي مذكرات عقل مشوش
إمرأة تخطت اﻷربعين من عمرها تستيقظ معتقدة إنها مازالت مراهقة
فماذا تتوقع؟


الشخصيات و الزمن

هو المنافس الأهم للذاكرة والذكريات في بطولة هذا العمل الأدبي
فهم أهم شخصيات ذلك العمل
ربما هي حساسيتي للزمن وأثاره كما لاحظتها في رواية مائة عام من العزلة

شعرت أن المؤلف دائما يلج لموضوع مباغتة الزمن لنا طوال الأحداث.. سواء في شعور كريستين بكِبر السن المفاجئ كلما نظرت إلي نفسها , وجهها وجسمها في المرآة كل يوم وكل ساعة

صعب جدا عندما تشعر تنظر بالمرآة لتجد نفسك كبرت فجأة . و لتشعر بالمفاجأة..."وتنزل دمعتك :)) -تذكر لأغنية خارج عن الأرادة
“لقد تسربت سنوات عديدة كالرمال من بين أصابعي ولم تترك أي أثر يدل عليها,لم تعد للدقائق وجود في حياتي ولم أعد أملك الا دقات الساعة لتعلمني أن الوقت يمر ويمضي بلا عودة.”

وأيضا في ملاحظتها لعمر الدكتور المعالج لها , أثار بوادر الصلع لديه مثلا وكيف هو نفسه لا يدركه, لا يدرك أثار الزمن عليه مهما حاول الحفاظ علي نفسه من تلك الأثار

لقد طارد الزمن كل الشخصيات الرئيسية بالرواية
كريستين , زوجها , والدكتور
ليس فقط الزمن .. بل والذكريات والذاكرة
“ان الناس يغيرون الحقائق علي الدوام, ويعيدون كتابة تاريخهم ليسهلوا الأمور علي أنفسهم ويجعلوها أكثر ملائمة لروايات الأحداث المفضلة لديهم.
انهم بفعلون هذا بشكل تلقائي ويخترعون الذكريات من دون تفكير.فان أقنع المرء نفسه بحدوث شئ ما بشكل متكرر بما يكفي لأن يصدقه,فسوف يصدقه فعلا ,وهذا ما يتذكره بعد ذلك.”
“We’re constantly changing facts, rewriting history to make things easier, to make them fit in with our preferred version of events. We do it automatically. We invent memories. Without thinking. If we tell ourselves something happened often enough we start to believe it, and then we can actually remember it.”

شخصية كريستين هي الأكثر قربا للقارئ حيث أنها من يروي الأحداث
ولكنك ستشعر كثيرا بالتعاطف مع زوجها , بين وصبره معها ومعاناته في تذكيرها كل يوم بحقيقة مرضها
ولكنك أيضا ستشعر بالريبة تجاهه , وأحيانا تجاه الطبيب المعالج د. ناش في بعض الأحيان

بالرغم من أن هناك شخصية تعجبت لنهايتها ومنطقها بعض الشئ

وبالتأكيد ستشعر بنفس الشعور بالنهاية , وهذا فحسب ماجعلني أنقص نجمة

ولكن بخلاف ذلك , الفكرة ممتازة , أسلوب الرواية أكثر من ممتاز
التشبيهات و الرموز رائعة حتي منذ البداية تشعر بأن هناك شيئا ما زائفا

وكما قلت هناك ملل, ملل تكرار كثير من الأجزاء
ولكنه بالتأكيد مقصودا...لا تنسي إنها مذكرات أمرأة فقدت ذاكرتها, أو بالأدق ..تفقدها يوميا

شخصيات جيدة جدا وحبكة مثيرة ونهاية لم أعتقد إنني سأكون راض عنها لهذه الدرجة

ملحوظة ، إذا لم تشاهد الفيلم لا تحاول بأي حال من اﻷحوال فتح صفحته علي
قبل القراءة ..فهو ما حرق لي عنصر هاما في صفحته الرئيسية علي ذلك الموقع

محمد العربي
قبل ما انام من 7 يونيو 2015
إلي 11 يونيو 2015
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,484 reviews12.8k followers
November 10, 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!
Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews856 followers
April 5, 2022
Winner of two crime/thriller awards and deservedly so. A premium piece of suspense writing. Christine wakes up beside a strange man, that turns out to be her husband; she has been waking up every morning with amnesia, covering the last 20+ years! This is the amazing and suspense filled tale of what happens, when she finally begins to start piecing her missing past together. A truly most excellent thriller... one of the best British thrillers I have ever read... absolutely gripping. 9 out of 12

2012 read
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
696 reviews1,073 followers
June 7, 2020
“Soon I will sleep, and my brain will begin to delete everything. Tomorrow i will go through it all again.”

An addictive and frightening thriller.

Christine has a severe memory impairment. Every night when she goes to sleep she forgets everything from the day before. She wakes up each day believing she is 27 years old and single, but soon has to face the truth that she is actually in her fifties and married.

Every morning her husband Ben explains who she is, who he is, what happened to her. But when he leaves for work Christine is contacted by Dr Nash, a specialist who has been studying her, a man who convinced her to keep a journal and to read it each day in order to try and make sense of her tangled life.

But when things she writes down don’t seem to match what Ben is telling her, she realises he is keeping things from her. Lying to her. Who is this man? And what is really true?

I was gripped from start to finish, it’s a terrifying thought that you could lose everything you’ve ever known overnight. And having to start again every single day, trusting that the people around you are honest.

4 stars ⭐️
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,136 followers
November 28, 2015
DO NOT TRUST BEN, but OMG who to trust?

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP begins with a daily existence of the creepy unknown and continues with amazing suspense each day throughout the entire story as amnesiac Christine unravels the mystery of her past.

As bits and pieces of her memories unfold, the shocking truth and terrifying moments of "the accident" come together to disclose a great twist within a unique storyline.

A bit far-fetched here and there, but who cares..........super entertaining! Could Not Put It Down!

February 12, 2022
A fascinating yet improbable story about a woman suffering from extreme amnesia and the men in her life; the husband, the lover, the psychiatrist, the abuser, the teacher, and the great ‘Pretender’. Yet the plot involves just two men (for the most part), so who is who?

A dark psychological thriller that is both gripping and fascinating as we get an insight into amnesia as a condition that is integral to a very interesting plot. However, could such a scenario happen? – I think unlikely.

The Plot and a summary of how Christine feels as she wakes up most days

‘I felt I was looking at another life, not my own, I have a vague memory of wanting to be a writer, a mother and I may have been all him those things but I don’t remember. I woke next to a man I wasn’t expecting to see. I see photos but where is the history?. I don’t feel him, I don’t connect with him but he is my husband – why? What happened to me that has wiped out most of my memories, why do I not want to remember?’

Christine tries desperately to piece together her past, her life, and to make sense of the flashbacks she is having, but in doing so, she will have to learn to deal with a very ugly truth as the people around her continue to deceive.

The story follows Christine’s recovery as the revelations, secrets and lies are revealed, however, to say or reveal any more would just spoil the plot.

What I liked

Story telling⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Superb, gripping and really well written and with great pace as the author unfurls more of the subplots, the twists and the backstory gradually to intensify the fear and thrill in the story.

Interest ⭐⭐⭐⭐ The story inspired a hungry turn of pages, it was fascinating, interesting, and absorbing until we reached the “Big Reveal” and with it my interest levels dropped.

What I liked less

Believability - ⭐⭐ There are some real-life cases of extreme abuse and duplicity but the occurrences and likelihood of someone getting away with such an elaborate deception has to be relatively low, and therefore felt implausible.

Structure of the story ⭐⭐ the use of journals to provide the story did not work well in my opinion. The story was written as a chronology of events – well a bit!! but aside from that it was not written in the style or in the language consistent with diary or journal logging anyway. It was a mix of storytelling and a journal when it was supposedly a diary to help with Christine’s recovery.

Nevertheless an interesting psychological thriller that provides an authentic look into amnesia as a condition. Worth a read but not entirely believable.

That averages out at 3.5 but I could not stretch to a 4, so on this occasion I am rounding down.
Profile Image for Arah-Lynda.
337 reviews524 followers
December 24, 2016
What if when you woke up every morning, you could not remember anything of the day before or the day before that. You wake up beside a man. A stranger, who says he is Ben, your husband. He becomes your only sense of belonging by gently, lovingly explaining everything, as much as he seems able, each and every day.

A Dr. calls, on a phone you did not even know you had and convinces you to see him in an effort to try and remember something, anything. He suggests you keep a journal and then calls back daily to remind you to look at it. You begin to remember snatches of things past, some of them link you to Ben, your husband. Good things! Others seem to contradict things that Ben has told you. Not little things either, but huge, life changing events.

This is Christine’s story. I found it to be plausible, horrifying and brutally day to day. Full of every day, common, relatable events that slowly begin to unravel the real truth of Christine’s life.

With a telling ending, that I just loved, Before I Go To Sleep, is definitely well worth the read.
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,097 reviews2,664 followers
October 21, 2014
Wow! What an amazing debut novel! I could not put this book down, it completely captivated me, I was wanting to know what would happen next, I was afraid with her, for what would happen next.....

Christine Lucas (Chrissy) goes to sleep each night, and wakes up in bed with someone she doesn't recognise, the house is unfamiliar, the clothing is not hers! The man she wakes up next to tells her he is her husband, Ben, they have been married for 22 years, they are very happy, and very in love. She had a car accident, with severe head trauma, so her memories are erased when she goes into a deep sleep. She wakes thinking she is young, gets a terrible shock when she looks in the mirror, and sees her aged face, the wrinkles...

This thriller, with it's suspense, twists and turns, as it moves towards the finish, is brilliant, and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page...
Profile Image for Clumsy Storyteller .
350 reviews727 followers
July 11, 2016
Christine, a middle-aged woman who wakes up every morning with no memory of her life, she has amnesia; every night she falls asleep and forget everything, that's her life which made me really sad for her i loved the story it was well written it was sad no one deserves to go through that struggle every day it was heartbreaking , The ending was really scary it caught me off guard, totally unexpected turn of events.

okay now the movie oh my freaking lord !!! they ruined it , they ruined everything !!who ever made that movie i can tell that he didn't even read the book , i love nicol Kidman but the movie wasn't that great it was boring really !

Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,051 reviews577 followers
July 23, 2017
I really enjoyed the whole premise of this story: the memory loss with the lead character having, effectively, a clean slate every day. It put me in mind of another book with a similar slant - The Housekeeper + the Professor by Yoko Ogawa - only this tale is much darker and the Ogawa book doesn't set out to be a mystery thriller.

I think the characterisation is flawless and the story is told brilliantly. Ok, I did start to work out where it was leading towards the end, but this didn't prevent me from burning the midnight oil to get there. A great read and thoroughly recommended.
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,120 reviews42 followers
March 4, 2019
An enjoyable read, although slow at times. Unlike others, I did not see the twist coming, but I was musing over the implausibilities of the story line. But hey, unlike real life, this is fiction, anything can happen, and it can all come together neatly at the end.
Profile Image for Gypsy.
399 reviews508 followers
August 21, 2016
عااااا این دیگه چی بود! =)))

خیلی پیچیده بود! ینی، تا صد صفحه اولش می‌گی بدک نیس، صد صفحه دومش خوبه، صد صفحه سوم عااااالیه، صد صفحه آخر خوبه و خیلی افت و خیز داره. کل ایده رو دوست داشتم، خصوصاً که داستان روانشناسانه‌ای بود. تعلیقش معرکه ست، هی می‌خوای بذاری زمین نمی‌شه. این‌قد تو شک و یقین دست و پا می‌زنی و اون‌قد نشونه‌های ضد و نقیض وجود داره و این‌قد هی نویسنده کلی آس داره واسه روو کردن که می‌ترسی زمین بذاری و شب بگیری بخوابی و یادت بره. :)) ولی کاش شخصیت‌پردازی‌ها پررنگ‌تر بود. نویسنده خیلی با زرنگی و هوشمندی از زیرش در رفته! چون می��دونسته با ساختن شخصیت‌های غنی‌تر، خیلی از سرنخ‌هایی که قراره آروم آروم نشون بده، لو می‌رن. بعد این زن ِ بدبخت این‌همه کتک خورد و اینا، چرا فقط ترقوه‌ش شکست؟ :| ینی به‌هوش موندنشم خیلی هندی بود. اینکه یادش مونده بود چی شده هم. داشت می‌شد هپی اندی که نویسنده پایان رو باز گذاشت، چون مشخصاً می‌ترسید خیلی جریان هندی شه؛ غیرمستقیم داشت می‌گفت زنه دیگه داره کم‌کم حافظه‌ش برمی‌گرده و طوری نیست بخوابه یادش بره. ولی اگه پایان داستان با الحاقش به‌ شوهر و پسرش تموم می‌شد، خیلی دیگه پایان فانتزی‌ای می‌شد. البته ظاهراً که این‌طوری قرار بود بشه. ولی بازم پایان قطعی‌ای نبود و تصویر ِ پایانی هم محسوب نمی‌شد. برا همین پایان هم با زرنگی باز گذاشته.

و یه‌ دست مریزادم باید گفت که راوی زن بود و نویسنده مرد! ینی خب معمولش اینه که زنا می‌تونن راوی مرد دربیارن. ولی معمولاً مردها نمی‌تونن راوی زن دربیارن. ولی یکی از بهترین نمونه‌های این تضادو این‌جا دیدم. من وسطای رمان بودم که فهمیدم نویسنده مَرده و اصلاً باورم نشد. :| ولی، این علاوه بر طرح‌ریزی ِ شخصیتی راوی، خیلی خیلی به‌پیکربندی ِ شخصیت‌های مرد کمک کرده. فک کنم اگه نویسنده زن بود، نمتونست این‌قد خوب کشمکش‌ها رو دربیاره و تعلیق این‌قد قوی حفظ بشه. باید اعتراف کرد مردها خیلی بهتر از زن‌ها می‌تونن افت و خیز داستانو حفظ کنن. اعترافش برام سخته. :دی

ریت هم به‌نظرم سه کمه. ولی چار هم زیاده. یکی از مشکلات داستان اینه که به نظرم زنه خیلی دیر فهمید. بعد خب روزنگاری‌های بیست‌سال خیلی زیادن! این چطوری هر روز همه رو می‌خوند؟! و چطوری تو این بیست‌سال- گیریم که می‌خوند!- به خودش نیومد و این‌قد کُنـــــد و دیـــــر داشت برمی‌گشت؟ نمدونم، شاید واقعاً تو دنیای پزشکی چنین چیزی میشه. به هر حال برام منطقی نبود.

تازه من تا آخرای داستان هی فک می‌کردم خود ِ روانپزشکه داره از زنه سوء‌استفاده می‌کنه. بعد کتابو بستم و گفتم، آخه آدم این‌قد خوووب و دل به‌فکر و شریـــــف داریم؟! :|
Profile Image for Doug Bradshaw.
257 reviews220 followers
September 25, 2011
From the very first sentence of the book I virtually became the protagonist, an amnesiac struggling to figure out who and where I am and why I'm in bed with this older man in a home I don't recognize and then when I look in the mirror, I barely recognize my reflection: this older woman with wrinkles and body starting to sag a little bit, naked and blank both mentally and physically, totally lost and scared and befuddled.

Every day is the same awakening until with the advice of a therapist, she starts to keep a journal and then incrementally adds various things she learns so that she doesn't have to totally re-learn her life every day.

There is huge genius and likability in this book on many levels, from her innocent and blank feelings about her husband's silly body parts, his need for sex, her duties as his wife, memories of lust from her past, her normal and somewhat randy behavior along side of her long time best girlfriend in college, to the normal things in the average life of an average couple cooking fish and peas for dinner.

Just because you're an amnesiac, it doesn't mean that you aren't intelligent and don't have instincts and feelings about the way you are being treated and cared for. As I moved along the story-line, there were many subtle clues about the real world that started to scare me, wondering what in the hell is going on, what the husband is doing, why is he so loving and patient, why does he give her slightly different answers to the same questions, what motivates him to be with her, to love her, his sexual relationship with her, etc.
I don't want to give the plot away, but the book moves fairly quickly from nervousness and wondering, to extreme stress and fear.

This is an excellent and unique book with many different levels of thought about life, relationships, roles, friendship, daily existence, etc. And, it gave me a little bit more insight into female thinking (or at least I once thought). I loved it.

Note after the review: One of my friends told me the author is male. Dang, but I don't like the book quite as much now. LOL I'll leave the five stars but I feel a little wronged somehow.
Profile Image for Alex .
236 reviews27 followers
January 7, 2013
Has anyone seen 50 First Dates?
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It's this fun, touching movie about a girl with a medical condition that prevents her from remembering the events of the previous day. This book is like that, only creepier and more depressing.

Imagine waking up every morning and not knowing the person sleeping beside you. Imagine looking in a mirror every morning and not recognizing your own face because you're 20 years older than the last memory of yourself. Imagine not trusting the person claiming to be your husband. Imagine not trusting your own thoughts, your own beliefs, yourself.

I loved this book. It kept me on the edge of my seat. However, I hated the characters, every single one.

Christine deserved what happened to her. She had a nice family, an awesome husband, a wonderful child and all of her troubles started because she couldn't find the inspiration for her next novel?
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And don't get me started on "Ben".
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I hate needy people. Grow a pair, would'ya?

Anyway, the author has done an amazing job with this novel. Loved it.

5 stars!!
Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews671 followers
October 18, 2015
The mind is an intricate thing, fragile, open to suggestion. An inkling, a feeling, just a hint of familiarity, can have you going in circles. That thought you just had, is it a memory or an invention? Christine never has the luxury of knowing how to answer that question. A nearly fatal injury 20 some odd years ago left her with a specific type of amnesia that allows no short term memories to be retained. If she sleeps, she forgets. Someone close is lying to her about some very important things in her past. To what end? She's not going to remember the next day anyway. Plenty of intrigue to go around here.

Other than that, I was absolutely riveted, couldn't read it fast enough. Oh, and I completely agree with other reviewers who have mentioned the movie Memento and how it came to mind while reading this.
Profile Image for Kinga.
476 reviews2,194 followers
April 3, 2013
I had to finish reading this book before I went to sleep. I was afraid I would wake up and not remember a thing and would have to start all over again. I haven’t been this engrossed in a book for a long time. I missed my stop, I forgot to pay my bill at the café (I did return today to settle it and said I suffer from temporary memory loss), I bumped into things while read-walking.
It’s no wonder this book sold five hundred gabizzillion copies and translation rights everywhere including Atlantis and Mars, as it is fantastic and all it asks from you in return is to suspend your disbelief for about 300 pages. Seems like a small price to pay.

If you have been in a coma this past year and have no idea what ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ is about, let me recap it for you: Just like in Memento, the main character suffers from anterograde amnesia but to spice things up she also has regular amnesia. Every day Christine wakes up not knowing where she is, how she got there, and why she seems to have a body of a middle aged woman, when she vaguely remembers being in her early twenties before she went to bed. The past twenty years of her life are completely gone from her memory and everything before also seems hazy. Yes, S.J. Watson is pushing it a little but you won’t have much time to meditate over the probability of the premise because the ride begins on page one and doesn’t stop until you close the book. It’s easy to open your novel with a character waking up with no recollection of who they are or how they got where they are, it guarantees to get everyone hooked, but the trick then is to keep the tension and even pace. This is where ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ is most successful.

The biggest part of the book is made of Christine’s journal, which she keeps to remind herself every morning who she is and what has happened to her before. I could be nit-picky and say that if I suffered from anterograde amnesia and had to read my whole bloody diary every morning and then write what has happened before going to bed, I’d try to be succinct. Otherwise I’d soon end up spending all my days reading about my past and what I had for dinner, and what the weather was like and what I was wearing.

But, of course it’s a book , I didn’t actually want to read bullet points, I wanted a narrative. Additionally, Christine is a writer by vocation, so I can forgive her for getting carried away, describing the wind and sand texture.

Memory is an extraordinary thing and I almost broke my brain imagining not having it. As I was reading the book I was adding new facts to those I already knew. I was building up the story in my head and I was making progress. To poor Christine every chapter was the first chapter. Every ten to twenty pages she was back to square one and I’d like congratulate Watson on doing repetitions without sounding repetitive. I’m also glad that he at least made an attempt to address the psychological impact such a condition might have on a person. Waking up in a body that’s decades older than you remember your body to be is pretty much waking up in somebody else’s body – having that happen to you once might undo you, I can’t even imagine having that happen every single day.
Remember that romantic comedy – 50 First Dates? It was neither romantic, nor funny. It was plain scary. She managed to have two children (or one, or three, I don’t remember)! Why would you do to someone who can’t remember what happened to them for the past decade? If I woke up one day, suddenly nine months pregnant, and some dude was telling me we were married and in love and that’s our baby, I’d say: hell no, perv! When I went to bed I was not pregnant. The aliens must’ve abducted me and impregnated me with their alien baby. I’d probably have a major freak-out and a miscarriage to boot.

Also, think about it. Picture yourself waking up in a stranger’s body in a stranger’s house. That would be pretty stressful, even if someone explained everything to you, it’s safe to say you’d be on the edge the whole day, your heart beating fast, diarrhea, cramps, chest pain. And now imagine that happening every day. You might not remember it but your body would, you’d be a wreck before you turn 40.

I thought all that while I was reading and then I thought: but after all, we are all amnesiacs. We don’t remember much from before the age of 3 (not that much afterwards). We look at our early photos and have no recollection of those photos being taken. We are told what we liked and how we behaved and we have no way of verifying that information. Even all those events from our life – how many of the thousands of days we lived we truly remember? We remember mostly the things we often talk about, the thing we wrote down in our journals or blogs and then reread. But the truth is we don’t remember the actual events, we remember just our descriptions of them, some story we told and retold our brain until we arrived at the version we were satisfied with. So let’s not fool ourselves that, we, unlike Christine, can actually rely on our memories.

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