Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is 47 years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.
But it’s the phone call from a Dr. Nash, a neurologist who claims to be working with Christine without her husband’s knowledge, that directs her to her journal, hidden in the back of her closet. For the past few weeks, Christine has been recording her daily activities - tearful mornings with Ben, sessions with Dr. Nash, flashes of scenes from her former life - and rereading past entries, relearning the facts of her life as retold by the husband she is completely dependent upon. As the entries build up, Christine asks many questions. What was life like before the accident? Why did she and Ben never have a child? What has happened to Christine’s best friend? And what exactly was the horrific accident that caused such a profound loss of memory?
Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.
©2011 S. J. Watson (P)2011 HarperAudio
I had read other reviews of this novel before purchasing and so was looking forward to a taut psychological thriller/ I wasn't disappointed, but the only reason for 4 stars instead of five is that the thriller part took quite a while to play out. The premise is unsettling: a woman has a rare form of amnesia that means she wakes up each morning not knowing who she is and remembering nothing of her past. I wasn't sure how the author would be able to play that out, but she uses the device of having the character start keeping a journal, so the reader's memories can start to accumulate even if the character's do not. Knowing that this was a psychological thriller, or would eventually turn into one, I didn't fully trust any of the characters, but when the twist came it was played out very well. I think it is well worth a credit.
Knowledge is knowing the way. Wisdom is looking for an alternative, more interesting road to get there. Audiobooks are that road.
You could easily listen to the first couple of chapters and the last couple of chapters, skip the whole middle and not miss a thing. The author hooked me from the start but then only fed me a drop of information every hour or so. Very slow to build a weak plot that was in place and predictable from the first chapter. Lots of repetition and very little substance. Unlike others, I did not find the narrator to be a problem, I thought she did a pretty good job. Overall the book was just O.K. Not sure what the hype is all about?
This was one of the best suspense type books I think I've ever read! Just when I was convinced that I knew what was going on, something swayed me back in another direction. This one truly kept me guessing. Great writing, great story, and the perfect narrator for the main character.
I knew this book was going to be a winner even before it's U.S. release date. I just love it when my intuition is right. The narrator does an excellent job. Full of so much mystery and confusion, you'll be turned around backwards and upside down and still won't know what's happening. It's definitely an Epic Win! But be forewarned, it might cause adrenaline fatigue in the last third of the novel. My heart was racing and my nerves were shot. Good thing I don't bite fingernails, or I would have chewed them off. Great suspenseful read! You won't regret it and might even want to listen to it a second time.
This book was ok. The narration was a little sappy but it was an interesting take on an unusual form of amnesia. However, the ending failed miserably. I was sorry I'd wasted so much time listening. Although the mystery part of the plot was resolved, the protagonist's condition was left unresolved. It could have gone two ways but the author chose to let the reader hang. Irritating.
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The idea is a fascinating one I must say; waking up everyday not knowing anything about yourself or your past or your life… but the execution of this great idea was a big disappointment.
I found that the first part just dragged on too long. “Ok, I get it, I understand the premise… now just get on with the story already”. When the action does finally pick up in the third part and the story goes from mystery to thriller, it also goes from “hmm, what’s going to happen next” to “Oh please, gimme a break!”
I also did not care for the narration. The constant frantic on the verge of tears tone wore me down.
Yes for a fun read when you want to get away from socially significant serious reading this is your book. Suspense, mystery and a good read. Interesting that the author is male and the protagonist a woman.
The language took a bit of a jarring "male" flavour every so often. Also there was a bit of "a man posing as a woman" showing through a bit. He perhaps should have had a few female friends or relations read it more carefully.
The narrator is the voice for the character. She slips seamlessly into the character so that you could not imagine the voice could be any different.
Trust nothing - not even your dreams.
First I'd like to start this review by stating that I was really looking forward to this book and thought the idea behind it was very intriguing. However, within the first few chapters, it was dragging on so slow, I couldn't believe it. It was literally taking forever, to the point where I started skipping ahead in chapters and still being able to follow along. I essentially read the first quarter of the book, skipped the middle, and then read the last quarter of the book, just to find out what happened. I recently read that this book will be made into a movie, by Ridley Scott, with Nicole Kidman in talks to play the leading lady....I would defiantly see the movie, but would not recommend this book.
Before I go to Sleep would be a great airplane or full day of cleaning listen. It has a rather tepid pace but still manages to be somewhat of a page turner.
The plot seems to be cribbed from the film Memento someone with memory loss is trying to reconstruct their life.
It is not a bad book but if you have seen Memento you have seen this story told in a much more thrilling.
It could have used a bit of an editor as it did drag. But it was well written/narrated enough that I listened to it in one day. Which does say something about the quality.
However writting about the book the following day none of it really stuck with me (much like the narrator's life).
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