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
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
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.
She heard a faint voice calling out to her somewhere from the backyard. She stood up, wiping away the tears that had now formed in her colossal eyes. She had always been an obedient child and listening to her mother was a chore she would never deny even if that meant killing her own desires. She looked back at the place where she had spent her entire childhood. A place which gave her memories that would stay with her throughout her life. She would miss this place. More than that she would miss what she used to be. Going away meant leaving a huge part of herself behind. She was 20 and was no longer the little girl with two pony tails holding her father’s hand whenever they went out for a morning walk. She missed her father. She missed how he used to wake her up in the morning. The world automatically felt like a safer place back then. Her fathers’ warm embrace, his reassuring smile. It made her cry. She cried. Voices being heard outside again. This time she looked back at the photo frames decorated on her study table.. Staring at her father’s picture she realized how much she was like him. How much of her father’s traits were woven into her. She remembered the last time she saw him on his death-bed. He asked her to hold his hands, to not cry, to be strong. She didn’t listen to him. It wasn’t easy. How could she just watch him die? Of all things that happened to her watching her father go through excruciating pain had killed her. Mentally, she couldn’t revert to being herself ever again. She had no friends to rely on. Being the introvert kind, girls found her weird, some even went on to say she was retarded. Well, maybe she was different.
She looked at the picture of herself and her father of a breathtaking trip. She was 15 at that time and considering her love for adventure her father had taken her for bungee jumping. How she had screamed her lungs out at the sight of it. She smiled a half-smile, reminiscing the beautiful day. Tears falling down. She kept the photo back, turned towards her cupboard. She took out a cardboard box which had her father’s possessions hidden. Her mother was heartbroken and depressed after her father died and rarely kept a track of their only daughter. She was there physically but in reality she had lost her mother that very same day her father had left them. She had silently taken all his belongings and never mentioned anything about this to anyone. In it were photographs of their vacations to various places, his unusually weird hat which used to be the center of all her jokes. His watch, given to him by her on his last birthday, a locket which had both of their picture and his gun. A gun used by him as protection. She held it up in her hands, staring at it with hope and a way to escape. She took a deep breath, bought the gun closer to her forehead, her breath increasing by every second, she thought about her father once again. How happy she would be sitting right next to him, teasing him about his hat.. This made her smile. She waited for a few minutes to pass by. She waited for someone or something to tell her that what she was doing was right. That there was nothing wrong in it. An image of her father calling out to her revolved around her head. She laughed. The gun still firm on her grips. She made up her mind. She had to pull the trigger. A little pain and then it would end once and for all. Her mother would get infuriated but that didn’t bother her much. She had gotten used to her cold wrath. She wondered what she’d tell her father when they meet, would he be happy? He would be, obviously. She knew he missed her too. Sweat forming in her hands, she once again bought the gun to her head. A loud bang on the door shook her up completely. She kept the gun down, got rid off the cardboard box, wore her sweater and dashed out of the room.
‘I’m sorry for being late, mum. I’m ready, let’s get out of here’ . This time she didn’t look back.