“What our we if not an accumulation of our memories?”
How terrifying would it be to wake every day in a room you do not recognize? To see a man you do not know. To look in the mirror and see the face of someone 20 years older than you think you are.
For Christine Lucas, in Before I go to sleep by S. J. Watson, this is the life she lives every day. “My mind was empty. Scooped out.” According to her husband, Ben, she had an accident: She was hit by a car. She lost her memory. She has lived this way for 20 years.
Twenty years of waking up with no memories of any of her life. Starting over every day.
Terror. That is how I would describe it.
She has, unknown to Ben, started seeing Dr. Nash who has encouraged her to keep a journal. He calls her each day and reminds her of where it is. She reads it and blanks are filled in to the holes in her memory. For that day. The journal seems to be helping.
But one day when she opens it there is a message written in her own hand:
“Don’t trust Ben.”
She is torn between the glimpses of memory that she has written down and the things that Ben tells her each day. Should she trust him? There is no one to ask. No one to verify the facts of her life, except Ben.
With a conclusion that I absolutely did not see coming, this book made me really think about the things that we take for granted every day: Our lives, our families, and our memories.
When I began reading Before I go to sleep by S. J. Watson, I had an experience not unlike Christine Lucas, the main character. There was something that I thought I remembered about the storyline. But I could not put my finger on it.
There were small clicks where I felt I had read this story before. So I finally followed Christine’s advice and did a little research. There was a 2014 movie starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. Aha! I remembered seeing it. But I didn’t remember how it ended. And besides, everyone knows the book is always better!
So I continued to read. And I am so happy that I did!
I highly recommend this book if you are looking for sheer suspense. For an ending that is more than twisted.