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the addict



NAME: H. SHAR
AGE: 21 YEARS

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Before I Go To Sleep.
1:34 PM
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Before I Go To SleepBefore I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rating: 3 and 1/2 stars

This book took me an embarrassingly long time to finish. I am not exactly proud of it but I guess I was going through some sort of reading rut. BUT IT IS FINALLY DONE and I have to say that I really do like it. Although there were certain elements that I wasn't too keen on, overall it was a good read. This book is one of those books that gets REALLY good at the end. I swear, towards the end, I could NOT put this book down 'cos it got INTENSE to the point of creeping me out. FIRST, let me tell you the gist of the plot.

Before I Go To Sleep is about Christine who woke up one day and realized that she was not the twenty-something that she thought she was but in fact, she was a forty-something woman with a husband, living in a house she has never seen before. Upon which she flipped out and demanded to know what was going on. She later realized that she has a rare type of amnesia whereby she is unable to make new memories. Her memory would be erased the moment she falls into sleep and she will wake up every morning a blank slate. Christine struggles to find out about her past and her identity, the life that she lived but could not remember. With the help of a mysterious Dr Nash who reached out to help her strange condition, she keeps a journal of daily events so that she can piece together her past. Also revealing clues of the man she was married to, Ben, who seemed to be telling her only a fraction of the truth about her past. The question is can she trust these men? Can she even trust her own memories?

It is such an interesting premise. Just the thought of waking up with twenty years of your life GONE without you even remembering it sounds absolutely terrifying to me. It highlights how important memories are in our lives and how we build our identity around our experiences and how we remember ourselves to be. The author does a great job at highlighting Christine's fears and confusion as to who she really was/is. I have to mention how lovely the writing is in this book. S. J. Watson writes this thriller with such... grace. I have no other way to describe it. There is a very poetic and slice-of-life vibe from the writing which is so different from the usual thriller-style writing I am used to where it is very action-oriented. Here the thrill comes in the 'unknown' and the fears are entirely in the mind. That made it extra creepy and extra thought-provoking.

The characters in this book are very multi-faceted. Each chapter reveals a different dimension to the characters and it helps that there are not very many of them. Just Christine, her husband Ben, Dr Nash and a couple others. Their relationships also follow a very broad spectrum. Christine's confusion led her to question her "love" for her husband and sought refuge in Dr Nash (who was really, much younger than her). I remember one of the scenes where she took the plunge and kissed him and I literally gagged at her folly. 'Cos she really shouldn't be screwing up the only relationship that can save her life. But it is these human mistakes that make each character so real and rich. Within the thrill of the mystery of her past, the reader sees the dangers of domesticity and longing to be desired.

The plot was, in my opinion, very slowly-paced. It got really good towards the end when we read some glass-shattering revelations that totally rocked the plot. But in the beginning and the middle, I found too many repetitions and cycles. I understand that it is unavoidable as Christine loses her memory everyday and so, she would be going through the same cycle each day. But it get tedious to read through. However, I applaud the author's attempts at making each day varied in a way and how he always ends with doubt, making the reader (me) suspicious of everyone. I became suspicious of everything and everyone and that was what ultimately made me continue reading. I wanted to find out if my suspicions were true.

AND THE ENDING was like WHOOOAAA~ INTENSE WHAM BAM HOLY CRAP ACTION. I cannot reveal too much but Christine's past was revealed and I was literally TRAUMATIZED at the revelations. Humans are capable of the unthinkable and that is a scary reminder. I remember (see what I did there?) literally gasping in shock and horror as I read the last part of the book. That was what made everything worth it. I was gripped and shaken by the shoulders and genuinely thrilled.

I just wished that the middle parts of the book weren't such a plateau. And that Christine was a more likeable character. 'Cos I actually find her abit bland. I suppose she can't have much of personality seeing as she lost a good chunk of her memory, but I did find reading from her perspective quite depressing.

Overall though, worth a read as the writing is really beautiful for a thriller. And the ending was like da bomb. And it does delve into the mysteries of the mind, so the reader has to prepare himself/herself mentally for some mind-fuckery and self-questioning moments.

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