Review – Before I Go To Sleep

Posted 11 March, 2016 by Nikki in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. WatsonBefore I Go To Sleep, S.J. Watson

Originally reviewed 19th January 2012

I picked this up somewhat on a whim. A couple of people had been talking about it, and I saw it in the Kindle store, and I just thought… fine, okay. I’ll go for it. I read it in about four chunks. It’s pretty riveting, actually. The unreliable narrator is reasonably well handled and as long as you’re prepared to go along for the ride, it works reasonably well. I guessed the big twist fairly swiftly, then thought I’d got it wrong, and then it turned out my first guess was right. That was pretty fun, I suppose: the guessing game.

One thing that annoyed me was a fairly big thing, though. The antagonist is a total cliché. The minute he starts talking about her being in a coffee shop, and how he scrutinised what she was eating and tried to figure out the “rules”, the ending was obvious. It’s every media stereotype. And seriously, I promise you. If you went out today, you passed a mentally ill person. Driving past you, walking along the pavement behind you, in front of you… And you were in no danger. They don’t care about whether you eat your snack before or after 2pm. They’re not going to rape you and try to kill you, then steal you from your care home and lie to you. They’re just going to buy some bread and milk, maybe some things for dinner. They’ve got a meeting later. Whatever. Most mentally ill people are perfectly normal people. And even the ones that you don’t understand, the ones that try to figure out weird “rules”, they’re probably harmless too. It’s not that there aren’t people who are dangerous and mentally ill, but mentally ill people are not automatically dangerous. In fact, mentally ill people are at a higher risk of being victims of violence, not perpetrators.

Still, clichés aside, if you’re interested in a mystery/thriller type thing that’s basically a sinister 50 First Dates (I can’t believe I’m admitting to ever having seen that), this might be up your street.

Rating: 2/5

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