Imagine the best moments in your life, an unforgettable birthday, your wedding, winning a state championship, or even a great day with your best friend. Now imagine if you couldn't remember these moments, if almost everything that has happened to you is just a blur of the past. The book Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson is about a 40-year-old woman named Christine Lucas who experiences this exact idea. Due to a car accident 15 years ago Christine develops a brain damage that makes her forget everything that has happened in her life. Every day a daily routine is established, where her husband tells her who he is, who she is, and what's going on around them. Unaware of anything that is going on day to day Christine lives the life that her husband tells her. Also to inform Christine about her past is a therapist who she sees behind her husband’s back for help. Dr. Nash is another important character who helps Christine understand her life on top of what her husband tells her each morning. Christine's husband is very strict in the matters of her getting help from anyone so each afternoon while her husband is at work she gets help from Dr. Nash. The day Christine wakes up in the beginning of the book is when Dr. Nash informs Christine that he'll be picking her up soon to give back her journal. Christine has been writing in this journal every day but forgets about it every morning. But after this meeting an unforgettable detail is brought up, she discovers three bold words written on the first page of her journal it reads DON'T TRUST BEN and Ben is her husband. From this point on in the book Christine realizes that she needs to be more attentive to her surroundings as no can be trusted, or can they? Her brain damage enables her to have a good memory but after those three words Christine must try to somehow overcome her damage to be safe from her loved ones, or maybe it's the loved ones who are trying to keep her safe?
The loss of identity is a prominent theme in this novel as Christine struggles with a loss of memory while she loses her identity. Throughout the novel Christine experiences major shock due to her appearance, as she isn't aware of where she is and who she really is. Christine wakes most mornings thinking she is a twenty-something year old woman, as if the accident that caused her brain damage never occurred, as if she is still as young as she remembers to be. Christine in shock every morning, wakes up to such an intense trip down memory lane as she grasps for more answers on herself and her surroundings. It's very difficult for both Ben and her to relive the past for a day as her connection to her body is lost and Christine feels like a lost soul in an anonymous body. “It’s not life, it’s just an existence, jumping from one moment to the next with no idea of the past, and no plan for the future.” This really hits home on the idea that Christine feels that her life has no purpose, in fact her life seems to be her dying over and over again and her having to wake up and relive it again. She feels unconnected to herself as she realizes that she isn't as young as she imagined she was. Christine experiences disappoint as she can't seem to understand how she could forget such important memories like, her son dying in the army just two years ago or even any memory of her husband and her. The disappointment that she experiences factors into her losing her identity as Christine doesn't know what she has to do to remember anything her husband or Dr. Nash tells her.
Christine's state leaves her in a situation where she cannot seem to trust anyone including herself. The inability to trust and love her friends and family is another recurring theme. “Do you trust me? The question is usually asked before an admission that such trust is misplaced.” Christine was once a very young and very independent woman, but now she must rely on her husband and therapist to tell her everything about her life. This leads to the question, can you really tell someone everything that has happened in their life if you're not the one that lived it? “Do you trust me? This explains how Christine can only get her information from these Ben and Dr.Nash but soon feels that everything that they tell her are all lies. The truth to her seems unsafe and fake as she isn't able to comprehend what her situation really means. Christine begins to realize that she can't trust her husband after seeing her journal and can't seem to love him as much as he loves her. Ben devotes so much time and effort to help Christine but since Christine fells no connection to Ben she can't seem to get herself to love him back. This causes tension in their relationship as Ben really wants to help Christine even if she can't remember him. Christine also can't seem to trust her therapist’s words as she feels that he is using her situation as an experiment to then publish a book and become famous. Christine hallucinates these possibilities as she is unaware of who anyone really is. Though Christine is the only person who knows her life best, if only she could remember what happened to her in that accident. Her relationships with her surroundings don't go to well as her mind always seems to convince her that everyone is lying. With her brain damage and her uncertainty of who she can or can't trust it's a battle between both her mind and heart.
This book was very memorable to me because of the twists and turns that took place. All of the cliffhangers after each chapter left me on the edge of my seat to read more. This psychological thriller proves to be a novel that makes you question your true identity and leaves you in awe at how the main character lives her live like that. The bravery that Christine showed in this book is like no other hero as she battles herself to find out the truth, Christine faces hardships of her brain damage and proves to the reader that know one knows you better than yourself even if you have an extreme case of memory loss. I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a good read. This book deserves a 5/5 as the author did a very good job keeping the book fast paced and interesting at all times. Leave a comment below if you have read this book and let me know your reaction to the book ending. Hopefully you pick up this book after reading this review because I promise you won't regret it.