“Memories define us.
So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?
Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love – all forgotten overnight.
And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.
Welcome to Christine’s life.”
I was given “Before I Go To Sleep”, by S.J. Watson, for my birthday, and what a cracking read it has turned out to be!
The synopsis alone was enough to pique my interest, but once I got into the first chapter I was definitely hooked!
Told in first person, the book is told in three parts. Part One, “Today”, is essentially the first chapter, and sets the book up perfectly. Part Two, “The Journal Of Christine Lucas”, takes up the majority of the book, and Part Three, again titled “Today” covers roughly the final quarter of the book.
Christine Lucas, who is 47 years old, is suffering from anterograde amnesia. When she wakes each day she has no idea of what has happened in the previous 20 odd years of her life, to a house and husband that she does not know, and each day has to re-learn these basic facts that we take for granted when we awake.
She has started to write a journal to record the things that she learns, suggested by a doctor that she has been seeing, Dr. Nash, in the hope that it might help her get better, but finds that it reveals some strange and frightening truths that begin to undermine and cast doubt on the very basics that she has been told.
It is through this journal that we gradually learn, as if we are Christine herself, the various events and characters that have shaped and resulted in Christine’s condition.
Is Dr. Nash who he says he is? What is his motivation? What about Christine’s husband Ben? Her friend Claire? Who is telling her the truth? Who can she trust?
This is a brilliantly plotted book, with plenty of twists to keep you guessing, and very well written from Christine’s point of view, especially in emotional terms, particularly given that the author is a man.
“Before I Go To Sleep” has also been made into a film, directed by Rowan Joffé (whose previous film was “Brighton Rock”) starring Nicole Kidman as Christine, Colin Firth as Ben, Mark Strong as Dr. Nash and Anne-Marie Duff as Claire. Given that the author has stated that “…Rowan has made a stunning thriller, centred on some amazing performances, with a real heart…” I am thoroughly looking forward to checking it out as soon as possible.