Before I Go To Sleep is the first novel of NHS audiologist, S J Watson, who wrote it in between shifts at London’s St Thomas Hospital. It is exceptionally accomplished.
After surviving what she believes was a car crash, Chrissie developed a form of amnesia which has left her able to store memories for 24 hours. Every morning when she wakes she has forgotten the circumstances of her life and must relearn them from scratch: who her husband Ben is, where they live, whether or not they have children, what age she is, everything.
The book takes the form of a journal Chrissie is encouranged to keep by Doctor Nash who (without Ben knowing) has taken an interest in her case. The journal becomes her lifeline to her past though she has to be reminded of its existence every day. It helps her to discover the things she has forgotten e.g. her novel. But it also leads her to discover that Ben has concealed these facts and others.
Is he a loving carer trying not to upset her? Or is he manipulating her perception of the world, which without memory to help her decode it, seems to hide innumerable vast conspiracies.
This book is an excellent psychological thriller. As the book progresses you realise something isn’t right. You know who it involves but can’t figure out why. It’s really chilling in places.
I don’t want to spoil the story too much but I really enjoyed this book. The film not so much. I would really recommend this to fans of psychological thrillers.