Review: Before I Go To Sleep

Welcome to Christine’s life. She wakes up every morning not knowing where she is or who she is next to.

Author: S.J Watson

Length: 372 pages

Publisher: Penguin India

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5

 

Synopsis:  

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even 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

My Review:

Welcome to Christine’s life. She wakes up every morning not knowing where she is or who she is next to. She believes herself to be a 20 year old but she isn’t. She is a 47 year old woman who has no idea of her past or present. The future at this point does not exist for her.

There has a been a lot of hype surrounding this debut novel by S.J Watson and it did live up to the expectations. The story revolves around a woman who suffers from amnesia due to an accident that took place years ago. She wakes up everyday unaware of her identity or the identity of the person she is living with. No matter how hard she tries, her mind is blank. It’s like her life never happened and she’s been reduced into the body of a stranger. The only person she can trust is her husband, Ben. But is Ben really speaking the truth?  As she begins to put together shattered pieces of her memory, she realises her life has been a lie.

Christine is helped by her psychologist Dr.Nash who advises her to maintain a journal where she can write down everything about her life and everything she does in a day. At this point, Christine cannot differentiate between black and white; her perception is distorted. Memories from the past hit her like a ton of bricks but she is unable to decipher whether it is a figment of her imagination or reality. She knows if she sleeps today, she will wake up tomorrow with no memory of what happened the day before. The journal is her only hope. The author takes you into the psyche of a person who remembers nothing. A person who has to start from scratch every single day.

The novel surely is a page turner although it gets a little dragging in the middle.

The writing style is impressive, simple and holds the readers’ attention. I had a lot of assumptions about the climax and had my own theories on how the novel would end. But the ending was unexpected and I didn’t see it coming.

Before I Go To Sleep is fast paced (something most mystery novels lack), it is gripping right from the start and raw. For readers who love psychological thrillers, this one is right up your alley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: On Two Feet and Wings

He is 9 years old. He has never been alone. But he’s faced with a situation he never dreamt of. His life is about to change and how.

Author: Abbas Kazerooni

Lenght: 240 pages

Publisher: Hachette India Children’s Book

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4.5/5

He is 9 years old. He has never been alone. But he’s faced with a situation he never dreamt of. His life is about to change and how.

It is the story of a boy who has to live alone in a world that is alien to him. The protagonist’s journey is depicted vividly as he tries to make sense of the events unfolding in front of his eyes.

The Iran-Iraq war is at its bloodiest and Abbas has to to flee Tehran in order to avoid being drafted in the army. Time is running and if Abbas doesn’t leave soon, he will have to go to war. This urgency forces his parents to send him to Istanbul where it’s time for him to grow up and fend for himself.

On reaching Istanbul, Abbas soon realises he is on his own and going back would be disappointing his father; something that Abbas can never imagine doing. So he faces the frightening world ahead of him and plunges deep into the abyss. With some luck, his father’s guidance and presence of mind, Abbas soon finds his way into the unknown and within no time earns applaud, respect and money. ALL THIS AT THE AGE OF 9.

Living alone in a hotel for twelve weeks, Abbas begins to live life on his own terms. He suppresses his tears even when he wants to break down , travels to different places risking his life, spends money economically and has a meal only once a day. Knowing how vulnerable he is, Abbas has to watch his back and wait patiently to get a visa to England. But waiting is hard. Especially if you’re a 9 year old.

Had it not been a true story, I would have probably closed the book by now and refused to believe in all the things a 9 year old boy in the book was doing. The tact, logic and responsibility shown by Abbas is immeasurable. Any kid his age would have crumbled under pressure. The uncertainty, solitude and sadness didn’t weigh him down. He broke down, as is expected of a 9 year old, but he also got back up.

All in all, On Two Feet and wings, is a powerful memoir of separation, anger, loneliness and triumph. You will be at the edge of your seat, turning pages frantically and praying to every powerful force to keep Abbas safe and sound.

 

 

 

 

BOOKS THAT WENT OTT

images (1)OTT- Over the Top

Apart from the books that eat up your entire soul by its enriching storyline and charismatic characters, there are some books that eat up your brain due to a not-so-promising storyline and equally dull characters. I understand that writing a novel, figuring out the plot and carefully selecting the characters to fit the circumstances without making it over-dramatic and absolutely genuine is NOT easy (No offence, writers). So, I, like many others have stumbled upon some books that we didn’t quite really erm enjoy?  I have been a part of such a sad situation before and trust me when I say this; it is definitely not an experience worth looking forward to. I mean, come on, nothing is perfect. We mess things up and so do the writers (AHEM).  These books failed to make an impression as far as I’m concerned and my reviews, although brief, are solely based on my experience as a reader.  (I might sound a little too blunt but then it’s the disappointment talking).

  • 3 MISTAKES OF MY LIFE: The greatest mistake of my life, probably. If you’re a Chetan Bhagat fan and you’re reading this then please go hide your face somewhere and do not come back. If a movie has to be described in words then it’s a Chetan Bhagat novel.  The movie ‘Kai Po Che’ was quite a success at the box office and Chetan Bhagat’s script writing skill was brought to light. He should just stick to writing movie scripts and that is it. Equally nerve-wracking was his apparently national bestseller ‘One Night at the Call Center’ and ‘Five Point Someone’. He saved himself with his book ‘Two States’ which was without a doubt a Bollywood flick but not as horrendous as his earlier works.  ‘What Young India Wants’ is a book I haven’t read and neither am I planning on reading it. In other news, I’ve heard he is FINALLY writing scripts for Bollywood directors. WAY TO GO BHAGAT!

 

  • THE ZAHIR: Quite carried away by Paulo Coelho’s ingenuity as a writer and his philosophical knowledge that was boldly displayed in his international bestseller ‘Alchemist’, I decided on reading this novel. Little did I know, I was going to be left puzzled and not very sure of where I was heading with the story or if at all I understood the story? This made me reach a conclusion that there was NO storyline. I couldn’t figure out what the whole book was about.  Was the protagonist searching for his wife? ERR. Oh and I haven’t finished reading ‘Veronica Decides to Die’ yet. No more Paulo for the time being.
  • THE ACCOMPLICE: I have no idea how and when I got hold of the book. I also have no idea what Eirrean Corrigan was thinking when she wrote the book. The plot was something that has been written and enacted in movies since time immemorial. Nothing new there. I guess it was more suited to the age group 16-17 since the story and the psyche of the characters was custom made to fall under the teenage years.
  • Oops I fell in love: Before you judge me, I got this book cause’ I really wanted to read a light-hearted story You know the kind of books you prefer reading when you’re taking a break and you want to just lie down and relax on your couch. Well, things never go as planned. It was just another failed Bollywood script. The author, Harsh Snehanshu, didn’t quite nail it. The other day I read a review on his book that said it was a cute love story and that the writing was fresh and humorous. Sorry to burst your bubble, it was anything but cute or humorous or even fresh.

(That’s it for today. I can’t recall any other novel falling under this category as of now)

“The worst memories stick with us, while the nice ones always seem to slip through our fingers”

 

On a brighter side, I’ll be posting a review on ‘The Fountainhead’ shortly which is one of the greatest books written in the history of writing books. Stay tuned!

Have you had any bad experience as a reader? Feel free to share and comment!

REVIEW: AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED

and-the-mountains-echoed

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Rating: 4/5

“A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.” 

Reviewing a book written by an author as brilliant as Khaled Hosseini is nothing but narrowing down his hard work and his contributions to storytelling. I really do not intend on judging or giving my views on how he writes or what he should have written. I have been an ardent fan of his work ever since I read ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ and no matter what happens I can never forget the experience it gave me. There is an extreme sadness in his work. Everything he writes has an emotional element strongly attached to it that is forever engraved in your heart and you can’t do anything about it. It decides to just stick with you throughout. You don’t read his books because you like to read. You read because you want to and the world will only seem less cruel after you have read his book. If you haven’t read his previous book ‘A thousand Splendid Suns’, I’d recommend you to read it first before you put your hands on his latest novel.

The minute I got hold of the book, I knew I was going to get addicted to it. The story starts with a story.  The tale of Abdullah and Pari who were caught in the web of unforeseen circumstances, forced to live their lives without each other. In this novel, the relationship of a brother and sister has been beautifully narrated. The world seems to crash for Abdullah when his little sister is adopted by a childless albeit wealthy couple. The fear, anguish and anger that Abdullah undergoes when he is separated by his sister will make you cringe. He cries but there isn’t anyone to hear him.  Pari was nurtured by him, brought up by him and had in the course of time become an inseparable part of his life. Fate, as you may say, had other plans (I somehow wanted to read more of Abdullah and Pari’s childhood).  The author has tried to merge in the stories of many other people who were associated with the main characters in different ways. The storyline seemed to go a little hay wire but then it regained its force. Since Khaled Hosseini is a wizard when it comes to writing, one realizes that the words have been written effortlessly. You traverse through different journeys, experience varying emotions and ponder and think and are finally left in awe.

“Gone.
Vanished.
Nothing left.
Nothing said.” 

Half way through the book, you forget about Abdullah and Pari. This doesn’t last much longer as Khaled Hosseini manages to grab your attention to a point where you are completely hooked to the book. The characters are many but their lifestyles are surprisingly very different. You wanderlust to various parts of the world; Afghanistan, Paris and the United States.  From my personal experience I can say that you will have to unwillingly do some other work to get your mind off this book for some time.  In contrast to the popular notion, this book was not as heart breaking as his earlier work but it did leave a very strong impact. It was more of a roller coaster journey having its ups and downs and finally reaching a static point. You are thrilled by the ride and yet you want to try it one more time. That’s Khaled Hosseini for you; He makes his readers hungry. His ingenuity and skill is what makes it worthy of being read.

 

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • “They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind.”
  • “The finger cut, to save the hand.”
  • “It was the kind of love that, sooner or later, cornered you into a choice: either you tore free or you stayed and withstood its rigor even as it squeezed you into something smaller than yourself.”
  • “You say you felt a presence, but I only sensed an absence. A vague pain without a source. I was like a patient who cannot tell the doctor where it hurts; only that it does.”