Before I Go to Sleep

By S.J. Watson

Place: Publisher & Year:

Genres: Suspense, psychological suspense, mystery

ISBN: 9780062060556

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 359

Setting: England – London area

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Christine Lucas suffers from a rare form of amnesia where she can build memories throughout the day, but then forgets everything she’s learned when she goes to sleep.  She wakes each day thinking that she is about twenty years younger than she actually is and must rely upon her husband, Ben, to tell her about her life every day.  When her doctor recommends that she keep a journal to try and help her memory, she discovers that her husband has been telling her lies.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: The story begins with a moderate pace which increases steadily as the story progresses.  By the end of the story, the pages are flying.

Characterization: Told in first person through Christine.  Other important characters include Ben, Christine’s husband, Dr. Nash, and Christine’s friend, Claire.

Frame: The title frames the story.  In order to assist her memory, Christine must record all the relevant parts of her day before she goes to sleep.  Only by reading her journal is she able to start piecing together the fragments of her life.

Story line: A suspenseful and creepy story with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the end.

Subject headings:

From Pima County Public Library:

Women authors — Fiction.

Memory disorders — Fiction.

Life change events — Fiction.

Identity (Psychology) — Fiction.

Psychological fiction.

Similar authors:

American Appetites by Joyce Carol Oates

End of Story by Peter Abrahams

Room by Emma Donoghue

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Personal notes:  this was a great debut novel.  While it was pretty easy to figure out who the bad guy was, there were still plenty of surprises along the way.  A good, creepy read all the way through.  One flaw (or not) is that the ending seemed to be wrapped up a bit too tidily.  The death at the end seemed a bit too convenient.  However, this detail does not detract from the rest of the story.

Other: Diversity – woman suffering from amnesia

S J Watson’s website


2 thoughts on “Before I Go to Sleep

  1. Hey! I just wish to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice
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    • Sarah says:

      Thanks. I haven’t been very active on it lately…. hopefully I’ll have something new for the next time you return.

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