"I know I'll go to sleep tonight, and then tomorrow I will wake up and not know anything again, and the next day, and the day after that, forever. I can't imagine it. I can't face it. It's not life, it's just an existence, jumping from one moment to the next with no idea of the past, and no pan for the future. It's how I imagine animals must be. The worst thing is that I don't even know what I don't know. There might be lots of things, waiting to hurt me. Things I haven't even dreamed about yet" (194).
Imagine waking up every day not recognizing your surroundings—not your home, not your possessions, not even your husband. Imagine having to relearn everything, every single day. Imagine relying on other people to explain who you are, where you've been, and what you've done in a life you can no longer recall. This is reality for 47-year-old Christine Lucas, who's suffered from amnesia ever since an accident knocked out her memory. Now, she must rely on a man she doesn't know—despite the fact that she's been married to him for 22 years—to help her remember herself. Even if it's just for one day.
When Christine finds the diary she's been secretly keeping—and forgetting—every day, she discovers that things are not exactly what they seem. As she combs through both the diary entries and the blurry memories floating through her damaged mind, Christine realizes she can trust nothing, no one, maybe not even herself. Trapped in a terrifying world where nothing makes any sense, she must figure out who she is and who she's not, what is true and what is not, what really happened to her and what did not. And she has to do it now, today, before she goes to sleep and forgets everything ...
As you can tell, it's difficult to describe Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson without giving away too much. The book doesn't even have a real back cover blurb. I'm not sure how to discuss it in a way that's spoiler-free, so I'll just say that I loved this taut psychological thriller. Watson builds the story slowly, almost painstakingly, making sure the reader feels Christine's confusion, fear and helplessness. As she puts her life together, piece by piece, the suspense grows, exploding into a tense, thrilling conclusion. Before I Go To Sleep is, quite simply, a riveting story, brilliantly told. Only two words more: Read it.
(Readalikes: I can't think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated: R for strong language, sexual content and violence