by Corrie Forman
Five TIC members and a guest (one of my co-workers from Utrecht) got together at the Harmonie for a Book Club discussion of Before I Go to Sleep, by S. J. Watson.
Before I Go to Sleep is the story of a woman who has been suffering from anterograde amnesia for over 20 years. She wakes every day with no knowledge of who she is (or even how old she is) and the novel follows her as she tries to reconstruct her memories from a journal she has been keeping. She learns that she has been seeing a doctor who is helping her to recover her memory, that her name is Christine Lucas, that she is 47 years old and married and has a son. She tries to learn from her husband and doctor more about her life, how she lost her memory and other details that she can’t remember, but as her journal grows it casts doubts on the truth behind the knowledge she’s gained and sets her on a terrifying journey of discovery.
Before I Go to Sleep was unanimously enjoyed by all members of the discussion. Like Christine, we all felt there was something going on that we didn’t quite get, and enjoyed being brought along on the exciting ride of Christine’s discoveries. We were also surprised to learn that the author was a man, since the story is written so convincingly from the point of view of a woman.
The subject of amnesia opened itself up to a lot of interesting questions (such as: Are we still us without our memories?) and made us all wonder what it would be like to be in Christine’s situation. But even without the philosophy of the role of memories, everyone agreed that it was a good, entertaining read.
The book was a bit of a departure for the club, as it was our first from a “physcological thriller” genre. As it was such a success though, we selected another thriller for next month: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.