Before I go to sleep - A book review
I have always tried to imagine the mind space of an author who writes thriller! I mean, its enthralling to imagine, how he/she builds the plot. Tying the knot and gradually and deliciously untying it for the reader. This thought has always intrigued me as a lover of thrillers. In fact as a kid and even today, I dream of meeting Satyajit Ray and asking him of the processing that happened in his grey matter to create Prodosh Mitra, aka Feluda. Alas, this dream cannot be true!
Recently I have been reading one thriller after the other, and my recent finished read was S.J Watson's Before I Go To Sleep. This book which was published in 2011, is now a famous motion picture, starring Nicole Kidman. The book is an international bestseller.However these cannot determine, whether you like a book or not.
So I, without any preconceived notions started my journey with Christine Lucas, the main protagonist. Christine or Chrissy as her friend call her, is a patient of acute amnesia. A medical condition wherein she is unable to retain her memories. Each day is new to her, alien to her, fearful to her. The book starts with one such day, when she wakes up feeling twenty but soon is confronted with her own self, an unknown, withered, her, in forties. And then there is a man, sleeping by her side, in a bed,in a house, in a world unknown to her. Ben! He claims that they have been married for years. But where are the years, lost into oblivion, in the darkness of the untouched layers of her memory? She feels claustrophobic, there are photographs of them together, of unknown happy moments. Is each day, this pathetic? Is each day the same for both of them, one trying to remember and the other trying to remind! But there is more to Christine's life.
The largest part of the novel, is the journal Christine writes to capture her day to day life. Each day she unfolds her life, through the pages and appreciates her existence. Each day she learns of the lies Ben tells her, she knows of her past. The attack that snatched away her being. She also knows, that he knows nothing of her writings. Don't trust Ben is what her journal tells her. But then whom to trust? She is alone!
The best part of the novel is that, it slowly and steadily grows on you and makes you feel a part of the mystery of her life. It is gradually scary. The climax, is dramatic and cinematic. Wonderfully portrayed! Though a smart reader will know what is coming before it actually does, yet the scene compels to read. The story has a happy ending, union of loved ones. It is a story of love, madness and betrayal...welcome to the jigsaw puzzle of Christine Lucas's messed up life of forgotten episodes!
If you like thrillers, this book will excite you. You will love the journey though it kind of slows down at times. But may be the changing pace of portrayal is the beauty of Watson's creation. And I would like to add, that if you compare the book with the movie, in-spite of the elaborate casting, the book wins the prize.