Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review - Before I go to sleep (RD)

Before I go to sleep – S J Watson
Review by Rob Donovan
I was looking forward to reviewing this one. My wife bought it a little while ago as she thought the premise sounded good. Jacqui reviewed it recently and was not overly keen, but my wife read it and loved it. I was intrigued by that alone, as normally my tastes in reading is very similar to both.
The Blurb:
'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...'

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.

I have to admit, I did scan Jacqui’s review before I read the novel. I wasn’t going to as I didn’t want to be influenced in anyway, but I am pleased I did.
Jacqui’s main issues were that she guessed the ending and found the whole sequence of Christine waking up each day too repetitive. I will comment on both of these in due course.
First of all, anyone that reads the blurb and is not immediately intrigued is a robot. The book has a fantastic premise and the possibilities are endless. Can you even imagine being in that situation. Have to discover your identity every single day? Wonder who are the strangers that are telling you they love you? It might just be me, but the thought just blows my mind.
It is probably why, from the first chapter I was totally immersed in the novel. As Christine began to look for clues to her pass, so was I. I was on that journey with her. It may help knowing that you are reading a crime/thriller but I was still as suspicious as she was.
S J Watson strikes a terrific balance between Christine discovering things and then rediscovering things each day, without making it tedious for the reader who has the advantage of having a memory. Perhaps it was because I was forewarned that this may have been tedious that I did not find it as bad as expected, but I don’t think this is the case.
After the initial waking up and not remembering anything, S J Bolton does a great job of skipping this part of Christine’s morning and goes straight to the point where she has read the journal she has kept and reacquainted herself with her past. There are only a few occasions she does not do this but this is essential to the plot.
Another issue Jacqui felt the novel fell down was that she found it completely implausible that Christine would not have more people around her to offer her help. Admittedly I agree with this as once her husband Ben goes to work, she is left to fend for herself which just would not happen. However, I can see why S J Watson has done this. Introducing more characters would have bloated the plot and meant the reader would not focus as much on the few main characters in the novel, namely Ben and Dr Nash.
Both of these are well drawn and provide just enough of a hint to make Christine suspicious of them.
If I am honest I did guess the ending fairly early on. Unlike other novels when I do this however, I was not annoyed. I think we are supposed to guess most of it. The clues are laid out for all to see and it is not as if Christine is one of those dumb protagonists that miss the glaringly obvious all the time.
The ending is well handled and satisfying, even if you have to suspend your belief system for a number of parts.
As you can see I enjoyed this novel. I can see why it got the positive reviews it has, but then again I can completely understand why Jacqui had issues with it. It just goes to show how lucky I am to have Jacqui on board this site to offer an alternative opinion.
My rating: 8.4

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