Marilyn Stasio and I aren’t on the same page about this one. As you may know, she writes the “Crime” reviews in the weekly New York Times Book Review, and she featured this book not long ago as a stellar example of skill in building suspense. Perhaps there’s a gender difference at work here. At any rate, this novel taxed my patience. (Full disclosure: Ms. Stasio was not the only critic who loved this novel. Many others hailed it as a sure-fire blockbuster. Go figure.)
Before I Go to Sleep, the debut novel of a long-time employee of the British National Health Service, tells the story of a one-time novelist named Christine with a rare case of amnesia that means she wakes up every day completely clueless about the last two decades of her life. Her husband, Ben, has to explain to her who she is, where she is, and why. Only when a therapist persuades her to keep a secret journal and read it every day does she begin to accumulate understanding of her situation and how she got into this fix.
Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson @@@ (3 out of 5)
As my grandmother would have said, “A likely story!”
However, this is a thriller, and it ends with the sort of twists and turns that are the familiar fodder of suspense novels. If you’ve got patience, and you don’t know too much about amnesia, you might enjoy it.
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