Before I Go To Sleep
As Adam Sandler would say: "...Not too shabby..." This best describes this first published novel of S. J. Watson.
Shabby, at best, could also describe the heroine’s memory. Chris wakes each day with no memory of her past. For over 20 years, her days begins in a panic. Where is she? Who is she? Why can't she remember anything? Who is the man in bed next to her?
Each dawn, the man in bed next to her patiently explains to Chris that he is Ben, her husband. He carefully outlines the traumatic past that she has survived and the resulting time-life-loop in which Chris' memory is stuck. Imagine what this must feel like to experience!
The lone, good outcome of this daily experience is that it's not like a nagging, horrific nightmare. She has little or no memories of her past, so each day is news to her. She discovers through Ben's daily narratives that she has spent a lot a time in hospitals and her prognosis is not good. Over the years, doctors have not measured much change in her condition.
One day a doctor contacts her and says that he has been secretly working with Chris for some time and feels that she may one day get better. He encourages her to start a daily diary, hide it from Ben each night before they sleep, and then the doctor will tell her the next day the hiding place so that Chris can read and more easily assimilate her past.
Since no character in the story is without flaws and trust-worthy, the reader is constantly assessing the exposition and attempting to seek some truth. Chris might have been in a car accident. She might have had best friend who is since estranged. Ben might have once divorced her. She might have had a son who died in a war. The list goes on.
This is a difficult book to write, but not that difficult to read. There is a lot of redundancy that is to be expected since Chris's memory must be reassembled each day like a house of cards. The final product, this book, withstands any gust of wind. Looking forward to his next novel. Watson's webpage can be found here: http://www.sjwatson-books.com/.