Just the Facts: by S. J. Watson. 356 p. To be published June 1, 2011 by HarperCollins. Advanced copy provided electronically, courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley.
Who Cares? Adult Suspense/Thriller
Not-so-Short Bio: (from Marketing copy) Every morning, Christine awakens beside a stranger in an unfamiliar bed. She sees a middle-aged face in the bathroom mirror that she does not recognize. And every morning, the man patiently explains that he is Ben, her husband, that she is forty-seven-years-old, and that an accident long ago damaged her ability to remember.
In place of memories Christine has a handful of pictures, a whiteboard in the kitchen, and a journal, hidden in a closet. She knows about the journal because Dr. Ed Nash, a neurologist who claims to be treating her without Ben’s knowledge, reminds her about it each day. Inside its pages, the damaged woman has begun meticulously recording her daily events—sessions with Dr. Nash, snippets of information that Ben shares, flashes of her former self that briefly, miraculously appear.
But as the pages accumulate, inconsistencies begin to emerge, raising disturbing questions that Christine is determined to find answers to. And the more she pieces together the shards of her broken life, the closer she gets to the truth . . . and the more terrifying and deadly it is.
Eyewitness Account: Reading this book was a little like watching Memento – I felt like I was literally on the edge of my seat the entire time! From page one, I couldn’t put Before I Go to Sleep down. Not only does the book have a complex, fascinating plot, but the author succeeded in making me completely identify with the main character. I distrusted characters, nearly clawed my eyes in fear and panic when things didn’t seem to add up, and felt deep despair when Christine realized that she’d lost precious pieces of her life.
Although this book is clearly a Suspense/Thrill ride (and well done, for that!), I liked how it allowed Christine to explore ideas of identity, self, and fulfilment – would anyone want to live a life in which your memories reset every morning? Is such a life worth living? What kind of price does your family pay for that? What memories are worth re-learning and which are better left forgotten?
Dang good job, Watson! Thou must publish more books! (And congratulations to him on already landing a movie deal for this one).
Notable Quotes: I simply loved this exchange between Christine and her doctor –
“Keep your journal, Christine,” he said. “You still have it?”
I shook my head. “He burned it. That’s what caused the fire.”
Dr. Nash looked disappointed. “That’s a shame,” he said. “But it doesn’t really matter. Christine, you’ll be fine. You can begin another. The people who love you have come back to you.”
“But I want to have come back to them, too,” I said. “I want to have come back to them.”
Other Books Read by This Author: None – I believe this is a debut from S. J. Watson
★★★★★ Plot Development
★★★★☆ Writing Style
★★★★★ Original Idea
★★★★★ Page Turner