Book Review: When the mind becomes a blank slate... every... morning.

My Book Club (the awesome ladies at HoCoBoCo) chose Before I Go To Sleep as our pick for August. As I was describing the book to a friend, she said, "Huh, it sounds like Momento."

Kind of, but it's better. Trust me.

Discussion isn't for a few weeks, but here are some of my initial thoughts...

Before I Go to SleepBefore I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Before I Go To Sleep" is a psychological thriller that plays on the triumphs and faults of human memory and the vulnerability that comes from forced reliance on others. SJ Watson takes a sometimes-overdone plot convention (amnesia) and, with strong writing and an excellent sense of balance between suspense and reveal, creates a story that drives the reader through to the end.

From the outset, Watson dumps the reader into the question mark that is Christine's life. Red flags pop up relatively early, but there are so many that tracking them leads the reader down the same false roads as Christine. The unreliable narrator (Christine) is a critical handicap and a means for building both frustration and suspense, but - importantly - not at the cost of belief.

Not until the last fifty pages or so, when the "less-resolved" warning signs more clearly point to the direction of the plot, does the ending really become clear. I did find myself wishing that the ultimate resolution came at the hands of Christine herself, not the outside forces at play, but at the end I was happy with the way Christine changed. And I really liked where Watson chose to end the story.

I'd recommend this book as a fast-paced, entertaining read, particularly for those who like trying to puzzle out a mystery on their own ahead of the narrator.

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