book review: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

The basics: Every morning Christine wakes up and doesn't know where she is, how old she is or who the man next to her his. Her husband Ben explains who she is, who he is, and leaves her lists of things to do while he's at work. Meanwhile, Christine has started keeping a journal to remind herself what she learned and remembered the day before. At the beginning of it, she writes: "DON'T TRUST BEN."

My thoughts: Before I Go to Sleep is a top notch thriller. My mind raced as I read it, and I was eager to unlock the puzzle of if Ben was a model husband trying to protect Christine or if he was keeping things from her, all while I realized this thriller was so rooted in reality, the answer couldn't be an either/or. From Christine's point of view, she wants to know everything about herself. From Ben's point of view, every day is the same; do you want to spend each day reliving the sadness of life and making the one you love sad?

What I loved most about this thriller is, despite being told from Christine's point of view, Watson managed to infuse the motivations of other characters perfectly. When each day begins, the reader knows more than Christine. How will she react? What will she learn today? What will she misunderstand today? These questions were answered differently each day, which made this novel excellent. Although there was a sense of Groundhog Day to it, the days themselves were so unique and illuminating, the pace remained fast.

The verdict: I was completely engaged in this thriller, and I read it in a single day.It was smart, fascinating and mesmerizing. I appreciated the combination of character development and plot twists. I'm already eagerly awaiting the film adaptation of this novel and S.J. Watson's second novel.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 368 pages
Publication date: June 14, 2011
Source: library

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Before I Go To Sleep from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository, or Amazon (Kindle version). You may also visit S.J. Watson's website and follow him on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a very, very small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. I just finished this one on audio on the drive to may family's place yesterday, and while I liked it, I think I would have liked the print version better. The narrator was a little flat, and for some reason, she didn't express the urgency that I thought the book needed. Great story though, and I loved your review!

  2. I loved this one! I just finished it last week and it totally had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Great review. :)

  3. Ooh, this sounds good! Writing it down now.

    Great review!

  4. Ok adding this to my TBR now. It sounds awesome.

  5. I think the movie Memento may have forever spoiled the amnesia plot device for me, although I'll make a note of this one given your enthusiastic review and perhaps approach it when I'm in an optimistic mood.

  6. This book has received awesome reviews. I need to unearth my ARC and get to it.

  7. I enjoyed this one too! Adrenaline rush.

  8. I really loved this book. One of my Goodreads book groups read it and many really did not enjoy it. I thought it was very suspenseful!

  9. I'm usually not into the thrillers, but this one sounds interesting! Very compelling review, Carrie! :)

  10. This definitely sounds really good. I've been looking for some top-notch thrillers so I'll definitely be searching this one out.

  11. This one was not my thing at all. I had a hard time believing that the narrator was writing these epic journal entries when she just had "a few minutes" before her husband returned. It kind of ruined the whole book for me.
    But I'm glad you enjoyed it! To each is own, I guess...

  12. I also liked this book a lot. One thing which is important to note though is that this is a book full of psychological complexities in the writing, and as a result might not appeal to mainstream readers who prefer an easy read with a touch of anxiety. Christine doesn’t go out much and this limits the number of possible conclusions. But overall a good read. I also did a review for the book as it was worth it:

  13. Ahhhh! I didn't know there was to be a film adaptation of this one. I listened to it upon the recommendation of my coworker and was thinking up excuses to listen! I agree that the combo of characterization and plot twists were perfect.


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