Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep

I am thoroughly embarrassed that I actually have so few books that I've finished after such a long vacation, especially considering the number of books I carted around the world with me to begin with. Turns out I did much less lounging by the seaside and far more sleeping on the plane than I expected, and after finishing reading Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, I'm sorry that this rare book review is going to have to be lukewarm.

The premise is one that has been visited before in movies from the superficial rom-com (50 First Dates), the much more interesting thriller (Memento) and even a slapstick Italian comedy (La Legenda di Al John e Jack). In case you live under a rock and have not heard of any of those movies, the premise is that a person suffers brain damage and thus wakes up every morning not remembering anything that happened since a period of time before the accident. They are incapable of converting short term memories into long term ones in their sleep, and thus every morning they wake up not knowing where they are or what has happened to them since. It is a decent premise with which to work, but unfortunately I don't think this book took full advantage of it.

It was certainly evident that this was the writer's first novel. The tone of the book felt very much like an idea was there but extra pages were needed to make it a real novel, so the entire middle portion of the book is, in my opinion, quite bland. It was clear that the idea was there and the end was written first, but when it came to develop on that idea, throwing clues in the narrative and weaving a story that brings you to the "thrilling" end, the author had a little trouble. The only thing I was really surprised to discover is that the author was a man, as I did find the first person tone of a woman very convincing. Unfortunately, I also thought the author was a woman due to the superficiality of some of the elements of the plot which I found to be in common with other blah British thrillers that I've read before.

I guess I'd say good first effort to the author, but it didn't quite do it for me.

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