There are novels that take hold of you the moment you read the first word. These are the novels that keep you awake at night as you desperately need to know what happens next and the interruption of sleep is offensive. For me, Before I Go to Sleep is one such novel. It was achingly un-put-down-able where showering and getting out of bed one Sunday morning was never going to emerge victorious after Watson’s tale held me in it’s grasp.
I’m not quite sure where I would place Before I Go to Sleep. It’s a sort of love story come mystery come psychological thriller that I read in two sittings and couldn’t put down.
The opening drew me in immediately. A woman wakes up and goes to the bathroom, a seemingly innocuous and mundane task. But what is soon discovered is that the protagonist, 47 year old Christine Lucas, has amnesia and this daily ritual is an important part of her recovery and remembering. My heart wrenched when she ‘first’ reads the post-it notes attached to photographs left by her husband on the bathroom mirror:
“You are Christine. I am your husband Ben. I love you.”
Christine’s confusion became my own. Her frustration at not remembering who she is and who she loves is as tense as it is frustrating. I want to scream. I shake the book. Remember Christine, remember!
This unfolds beautifully and Watson unfolds just enough to make you keep turning the page. Beauty turns to fright and that is where the psychological thriller takes over the love story.
Run, don’t walk, to the book store. (or click!)