As I think I am one of the very last people in the universe to read this it seems a bit redundant to talk about the plot, but just in case there is someone out there even further behind in catching up with best-sellers than I am, it’s worth explaining that this is the story of Christine Lucas, who wakes up every day with no memory of what’s gone before and has to reconstruct her past before she goes to sleep and loses it all again (hence the title). But it becomes clear that she wants to get better, is seeing a doctor and has begun to keep a journal so that she has access to things that would otherwise be completely gone, and through this process starts to question what she has been told about her life and what happened to her.
Why did I want to read it?
There was a point when you absolutely could not miss the advertising for Before I Go To Sleep, something to which I often react badly (I have spoken before about my perversity in not wanting to read what everyone else is reading, at least while they are all reading it), but I knew I would eventually succumb as I enjoy a good psychological thriller so its been lurking on iBooks for ages. The trigger to actually picking it up (if you can pick up an e-book in the traditional sense) was the trailer for the movie version with Nicole Kidman which I really fancy watching so thought I should read the thing first.
What did I think of it?
I really enjoyed it. I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for protagonists who share my first name (even when they are evil possessed murderous cars who are IMHO vastly misunderstood!) and this Christine isn’t that much younger than me. I liked the way she swung to and fro on whether to trust her husband, rationalising why he might tell her things that she finds out are not accurate, sympathising with his point of view in having stood by her in what she can see even in her distress are horrendously difficult circumstances. I like the way she begins to question everything, her understandable vulnerability which is necessary for the plot and which I would have found really really annoying in anyone else but her condition makes understandable.
Of course most of the fun in this sort of psychological thriller is working out what’s real and what isn’t, who to trust and who not, will she work it out and if so will she survive. I spent most of the book coming up with theories of my own about how the story would work out and reckon I was 40% right. I think the ending was a little too rushed compared to the careful groundwork that had gone before but that’s a very small quibble (and I know others have pointed that out before me so nothing new in that thought).
The only downside of having seen the film trailer is a tendency to fit the actors into the characters on the page rather than letting them come alive in my own imagination but again that wasn’t a big issue. I found the story satisfying and enjoyable, and knowing the outcome would be interested in seeing through a re-read how well (if at all) the clues were planted and why I missed them.