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Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel | [S. J. Watson]

Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel

"As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...." Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.
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Publisher's Summary

"As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me...."

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.

©2011 S.J. Watson (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (566 )
5 star
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Overall
3.9 (465 )
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1 star
 (16)
Story
4.1 (464 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (78)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (6)
Performance
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  •  
    Tim Charlestown, RI, United States 10-21-11
    Tim Charlestown, RI, United States 10-21-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    77
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    "Couldn't put this book down!"

    This book was so good! I couldn't stop listening to it. I was shocked when I found out (about 3/4 of the way through) that the author was a man...he did such a great job writing from the perspective of a woman. Also, the way he wrote the book made me feel like I was in Christine's confused mind! Intriguing read! The narrator did a great job also.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara USA 09-18-13
    Sara USA 09-18-13 Member Since 2008

    I work to keep my reviews free of plot spoilers. I hate reviews that tell you the whole story. That said, I do love reading reviews!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    861
    ratings
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    128
    104
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    Story
    "A terrifying story"
    Any additional comments?

    This book is really scary on so many levels. The vulnerable main character suffers ongoing terrible abuse and betrayal. Heavy on the violence, sense of loss and abandonment. A page turner but a cautionary story that is more thriller than anything else. Haunting.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annette United States 06-21-11
    Annette United States 06-21-11 Member Since 2004

    I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...

    HELPFUL VOTES
    374
    ratings
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    286
    74
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    Overall
    "Interesting..."

    Part mystery, part chronicle of brain damage. The story pushes you to extrapolate and guess on the real story going on...the really interesting parts are less about her condition (amnesia that restarts every day)than the relationships around her and trust. The plot and culmination aren't shockingly surprising - but the exploration of what it's like to live in a world with lost memory grabbed my interest. The "trust" in others is the big issue. I'd have like more "strange" brain trivia and information mixed in perhaps...the time she spent in hospital is covered quickly but truly frightening...I guess I enjoyed it but would have preferred more about the early experience and less of the "Mystery" of whoddunit. Still it was pretty good, in comparison to many of the memory loss/manipulation tales out there. Maybe I'm being too hard on it, I did enjoy it, but i see the potential for a much better book inside here....

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Curran Minneapolis, MN 10-20-11
    Cynthia Curran Minneapolis, MN 10-20-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
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    13
    11
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    1
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    "absorbing and unique"

    The narrative concept of this novel is unique and clever in execution. It is rare that an epistolary style can be maintained without becoming intrusive and artificial. Having said that, though, the ending disappoints and feels rather rushed. Most works in this genre have this problem but I don't know the answer. I would be angry if authors didn't tie up the questions with a plot conclusion but I am rarely satisfied. This ending was no exception--a bit too neat and unlikely--but the book itself I really enjoyed enhanced by a talented reader.

    It may be that the novel works so well because the author clearly is taken with the definition of self. Are we the sum of our memories or is personality something contained and separate?

    It is rare that I get so caught up in a novel that I listen to it straight through like I did this one. My final opinion is that this novel is sort of like life: absorbing in spots and at times terrifying but ultimately unsatisfying. :)

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JIMENA LAKEWOOD, CA, United States 01-28-13
    JIMENA LAKEWOOD, CA, United States 01-28-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    69
    16
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    "Would not recommend, stretched too long"

    The plot was not too bad but the whole story was weak. This could have been a 3 or 4 hour book but it stretched way too long. Not enough substance to keep it going. Really depressing and repetitive. I would not recommend this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. S. Herron Pittsburgh 09-22-11
    R. S. Herron Pittsburgh 09-22-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
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    48
    3
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    1
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Particularly Love the Narrator!"

    Having read rave reviews about this book, I chose not to read more than the basic synopsis. I had no idea what to expect. I'd never heard of the narrator, Orlagh Cassidy, and let me stress what a fabulous job she did, nailing the voices for each character, as well as all the emotional nuances. Although there were times I felt the story could have moved along more quickly, I realized later that the slow pace is what makes the whole thing work so well. Other reviewers have, in my opinion, made a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to the 'glitch' of the echo during a small portion of the audio. Yes, it's a bit annoying, but big deal. Bottom line is that this is not a book to rush through. Enjoy the experience, work your way through the echo glitch, and enjoy this wonderfully narrated and well crafted book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LucyZoe Moscow, ID, United States 09-21-11
    LucyZoe Moscow, ID, United States 09-21-11 Member Since 2005

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    3
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    Story
    "Kept Me Guessing"

    I loved this book and I recommend it to anyone who likes fiction with a bite. The author keeps your attention all the way through and you just can't walk away. It's frustrating at times because you actually begin to feel the main character's anxiety. It reminds me of "The Usual Suspects" in that you *think* you know what's going on...but you don't.

    There are quite a few unnecessary *f*bombs and sensational-like lines that have no effect on the story. We listened in the car and just laughed out loud at the silliness of some of the sensational lines. Be warned if you're listening without earbuds.

    I didn't notice the echo-issues other readers have mentioned. Sounded great to me.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stone Pullman, WA, United States 09-20-11
    Stone Pullman, WA, United States 09-20-11 Member Since 2001

    Thinking mom

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    74
    12
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    Story
    "Mystery and suspense with a twist"

    Christine is a woman with a past--unfortunately one she can't remember. When she wakes up each morning she has to be told where she is, what's happened in the past twenty years, and who the people are in her life now. She starts remembering things and then the pattern changes. It's a mystery with a little suspense. Different than I thought it would be but I was hooked very quickly by the plot. Truly a page-turner and a fascinating story. I wish I didn't know what happened so I could read it again!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arlene Boulder, CO, United States 01-30-12
    Arlene Boulder, CO, United States 01-30-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    4
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    "Interesting story - well-told"

    The story was engrossing and suspenseful, with a satisfying finish. I felt for the main character, Christine, and I was excited to see how she would adapt. The story developed believeably, and the ending didn't disappoint. Orlagh Cassidy did a great job of presenting the characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Escondido, CA, United States 09-26-11
    Catherine Escondido, CA, United States 09-26-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
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    37
    21
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    2
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    Story
    "Must listen."

    I was ready to give up on audiobooks again after purchasing three duds that I just couldn't get through. I had heard about this book and read the reviews carefully prior to purchasing it. It was very entertaining and the narrator did quite a good job. Overall it held my interest and, even though it faltered a bit through the middle and has been criticized for its ending, I have to say this is a good debut novel for Watson.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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