In S.J. Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel, Christine is a woman who wakes up every morning and doesn’t recognize the man sleeping beside her. He’s a little old for her liking, she just doesn’t remember if she picked him up at a party or something. Until she looks in the mirror and sees that she has also aged at least 20 years from the night before.
Except it hasn’t been one night… Christine has a brain injury that causes her to not keep any short-term memories for more than a few hours, losing them all overnight.
If this premise sounds familiar, it was used in the Sandler/Barrymore film 50 First Dates (Widescreen Special Edition). But while there it was a sweet, sappy comedy here the story takes a much darker turn.
Why does her husband Ben hide things from her? Why does he try to dissuade her from seeking new treatments and trying to meet up with old friends? Most importantly, in the journal she keeps why did she write “Don’t trust Ben”?
Overall I liked this story a lot. The ending was a little bit of a surprise, but not “knock you out of your seat” surprising. It was a solid read, and one I’d definitely suggest borrowing from the library if not outright purchasing.
Since it has the surprise ending, it may merit one re-read, but I doubt seriously that I will do so. Your mileage may vary though.