Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson definitely goes down as one of my favorite books this year. The story is incredibly suspenseful. It was so gripping that I read the majority of the book in one day. There is an intensity and uniqueness to the novel that will keep me praising this one for a while.
The book begins with Christine waking up one morning thinking that she is 20-something and not remembering how she ended up in bed with an older married man. She tumbles into the bathroom, only to find her hands appear older than she feels. When she looks in the mirror, she does not recognize herself. She is not 20-something but instead 47. Soon she finds photos of herself and the married man from the bedroom. There are notes on the photos identifying the man as her husband, Ben. Christine is soon advised by Ben that this scene happens every day. Christine has a rare form of amnesia that prevents her from remembering the last 20 years. She only retains memories for a 24-hour period. After a full night’s sleep, she wakes confused and thinks she is still a young woman.
Christine receives a phone call from a man identifying himself as her doctor, a psychoneurologist named Dr. Nash. Christine does not remember Dr. Nash, but he alerts her to a journal that she has been keeping. The story then switches to journal format, where Christine spends each day learning about her life anew, primarily by reading her journal. As time goes on, the journal allows her to form a more complete picture of the last 20 years. She is able to build on the things she learned and wrote down on previous days.
Before I Go To Sleep is the story of a woman who spends each day confused and scared, not knowing who she is or who she can trust. The reader becomes engrossed in the story, wondering themselves who is trustworthy – Ben? Dr. Nash? Who is telling her the truth about her past? S.J. Watson finds ways to keep the daily memory loss interesting and fresh, rather than repetitive and boring. The ending of the novel felt a bit rushed and trite, but it did not change my opinion of the novel as a whole. This is S.J. Watson’s debut novel, which is hard to believe. I will certainly be in line for whatever comes next.
I know I am gushing here, but if you are a fan of suspense novels, you absolutely must read Before I Go To Sleep.
Many thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins, for providing me with a free e-Galley for review, via NetGalley.
Book: Before I Go To Sleep | Author: S.J. Watson | Published: HarperCollins; June 14, 2011 | Format: e-Galley | Source: NetGalley | Rating: 5 out of 5
It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.
First things first: My right contact lens is driving me insane today, and I have no options for switching it out until I get home. Everything is blurry. Wearing an eye patch would be preferable to this odd squinting thing I am doing today.
Books for this week:
- When the Killing’s Done by T.C. Boyle – This book is very good, but for some reason I am reading it very slowly.
- To Fetch a Thief by Spencer Quinn – Still slowly listening to this during my commute. It may get even slower as Mr. Reader of the Pack and I are commuting currently, and I am unable to focus with someone else in the car.
- Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante – I hope to start reading sometime this week. I have noticed I am reading a lot of amnesia/memory books lately.
Last week I finished:
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson – I had a crazy busy weekend, but I managed to read the majority of this book in one sitting. It was so suspenseful that I could. not. stop. Oh my goodness. I think it is a favorite for this year. Review to come soon.
Last week I snagged a free audiobook copy of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater from Sync Audiobooks. This free audiobook series is how I discovered The Hunger Games last year. I highly recommend following the available books this summer, if you don’t already.
Have a great week!
Long Gone was my first experience reading Alafair Burke, but it definitely will not be my last. I can now include Alafair Burke on my list of favorite female mystery authors. The list includes Lisa Unger, Karin Slaughter and Laura Lippman.
In Long Gone, unemployed Alice Humphrey meets mysterious Drew Campbell during an art opening. Drew represents an undisclosed wealthy man who plans to open an art gallery featuring his lover’s work in its first exhibition. Drew offers Alice the position of gallery manager. Even though the job seems too good to be true, Alice jumps into the position with gusto. Unfortunately, she quickly finds out that her dream job is not so dreamy. First, a group of protesters show up to protest the first exhibition. Then Drew Campbell turns up dead on the floor of an empty gallery. It is as if the gallery never existed. The photographs and the furniture are gone. The space is empty.
Alice is the prime suspect in Drew’s death. The police even have photographic evidence of her kissing Drew, except that Alice knows she never kissed Drew. So who is the woman in the photo? Is it a really good Photoshop job or does Alice have a doppelganger? Alice realizes that someone is trying to set her up. Alice happens to be a former child actress and the daughter of an award-winning director. With her name connected to the crime, her whole family is dragged into the tabloids.
Long Gone provides a perfect mix of family secrets, drama and suspense. There are side stories about a missing high school girl and religious protesters that strongly resemble Fred Phelps and his creepy crew. This book is a completely engrossing read. Long Gone is out today, and I encourage you to grab yourself a copy.
I recently began following Alafair Burke’s blog, which is hosting the Duffer Awards this summer. Duffer is her dog, which was enough to hook me before I even read Long Gone.
Many thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins, for providing me with an e-Galley for review, via NetGalley.
Book: Long Gone | Author: Alafair Burke | Published: HarperCollins; June 21, 2011 | Format: e-Galley | Source: NetGalley | Rating: 5 out of 5
It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. I really like participating in this each week because it helps keep me on my toes. I quickly see which books I keep dragging over week after week.
Books for this week:
- When the Killing’s Done by T.C. Boyle – I am making it a priority to read this now because it is due back to the library very soon.
- To Fetch a Thief by Spencer Quinn – This is the audiobook that I am slowly listening to during my commute.
Last week I finished:
Long Gone by Alafair Burke – This book was so good that I probably would have read it straight through from start to finish were it not for other life obligations getting in the way. I have a new favorite author! Review to come very soon.
- I still plan to read Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson. I just decided that since I had already missed the publish date for this, I would try to fit in Long Gone first.
- I would also like to fit in A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan as part of the Goodreads Book Club. We’ll see.
This is today’s haul from a nearby urban farm minus the lemon blueberry goat milk ice cream, which we promptly ate. Happy Saturday!
Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.