Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Before I Go to Sleep

Christine has just woken up.  She looks beside her in the bed and sees a man she doesn't recognize.  Was she so blasted last night that she can't remember the man she brought home, or came home with?   And then she looks in the mirror and sees a woman about 20 years older than she is, or thinks she is!

It soon emerges that Christine is suffering from a type of amnesia whereby she loses her memories each night when she goes to sleep.  So each day is a brand-new start for her.  She begins to keep a secret journal, and is prompted each morning by a helpful doctor to look for it and read it.  So she can catch up on everything that has happened and everything she's learned since she started writing.  And what she reads fills her - and the reader - with foreboding.  Somebody is lying to her.

Before I Go to Sleep is a thriller. There are no terrorists, no spies, no bombs, no gunshots, no stolen weapons - none of the accoutrements of the usual thrillers.  But like any good thriller, the suspense draws you inexorably on towards the denouement.  I couldn't put it down.

This is a great book and I highly recommend it.  It's interesting that I've read (and posted about) several books this year about memory:  Still Alice about the onset of Alzheimer's and The Housekeeper and The Professor, about a man who can only retain 80 minutes worth of memories.  Advances in understanding the brain, and how memories are laid down and retrieved, provides great fodder for content.  Meanwhile, Baby Boomers hitting the age where memory disintegration is their greatest fear guarantees a great readership for such books.  I'm expecting we'll see more of such books.  This Baby Boomer will look forward to them.

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