In Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson, Christine Lucas wakes every morning to a fresh, new day, literally. She suffers from amnesia and every night all of her memories, long and short term, reset and in the morning she wakes up as a blank slate, not knowing anything about her self.
Every morning Christine wakes up with her husband, Ben, who has to reassure her that she is in her home and that he belongs there, too. Nothing looks familiar to Christine, not the furniture, the momentos, the photos, not even her clothes spark recognition as being hers.
Ben goes through their morning routine (as he assures her) making a bit of breakfast, telling her what to expect from the day, and then he heads off to work. Left alone, Christine is unsure how to proceed until a phone call decides for her.
The man on the other end of the line identifies himself as her doctor, Dr. Nash. He says they have been working together on rebuilding and restoring her memory. He asks to meet and Christine, led by a desire to discover more and an innate sense of trust in Dr. Nash, agrees.
He hands her a package: a brown, leather journal. Dr. Nash explains that over the past few weeks Christine has been keeping a record of who she is and has been using the journal as a tool to build from each day.
As Christine settles in to read the journal, she realizes unlike everything in the home she is living in, this is a version of her story that belongs to her alone. The pictures, the words she has from that morning, all come from Ben and his definition of her and her condition. Within the journal is her own account of her life and, quite clearly, there on the first page below her name in all capital letters is: “DON’T TRUST BEN.”
It is a premise too remarkable not to read. S. J. Watson is a first-time novelist, but Before I Go To Sleep reads as the finest noir. The play between memory and the perception of truth will excite any afficianado of novels and for movie fans who enjoyed the film Memento, the premise is familiar and fresh at the same time.
About the Author
Melissa Carle is a Support Specialist with the KC-LSP and thinks life is too short to read a book that doesn't excite you in the first 40 pages. She likes cooking, herb gardening, and, of course, reading and thinks all good books, fiction and non-fiction alike, share one thing in common: they're just a good yarn.