Romeo and Juliet, Act 4, Scene 3
Looking for an unputdownable thriller? One of my fellow stewards at the Globe recommended me SJ Watson’s ‘Before I Go to Sleep’, a suspense-filled page-turner, dealing with the premise that Christine, the heroine, is an amnesiac who wakes up every morning with no memory of at least the past twenty, if not more, years of her life. And of course, if you have no memories, how do you know the people in your life are who they say they are? Even the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story…
Tense, right? Even though naturally this blurb makes it a teeny bit predictable (obviously don’t trust the person who gives you your information), the twists and turns do actually keep coming, making it one of those books I sorely regret starting before bed. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning finishing this novel, devouring avidly the drama that never seemed to stop. I think obviously you have to suspend your belief at some of the events; I don’t know the science behind amnesia, or if this could potentially be a possibility, but on practical terms, the sheer lack of health care for Christine seems unbelievable, to be honest. Surely there must be something in place to stop these sorts of dramatics happening?
Christine herself can be forgiven for her almost incredible slowness considering her debilitating condition. However, it is incredibly frustrating for the reader when she simply forgets all the previous really, really important events – I almost wanted to shout at the book at some points.
It’s hard for me to critique this kind of book, because I don’t want to give away all of the secrets! In the end, the plot is what makes this novel worth reading. Yes, it’s perfectly well written, but, as with most thrillers, the thing I’m most impressed with is how much planning must have gone into formulating the story! All the twists mean that I can’t even discuss many of the sub-characters, as they are slowly revealed throughout and themselves have extremely complex back-stories. Since each of them is viewed through Christine’s eyes, we naturally never know their true motives, only their behaviour.
Overall, a great thriller you could definitely finish in an evening (in fact, you’ll have to; once you start it, don’t expect to be able to put it down). Not the most highbrow of books, but who needs highbrow all the time?! And you need to read it by next year, since the film ,starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, is supposed to be released next year, and it’s one of my cardinal rules that you must read the book before seeing the movie.