Before I Go To Sleep Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson is about woman named Christine who wakes up and can't remember her past.
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Part 1: This part is in present tense. Sleeping next to her is a man she doesn't recognize, and she assumes that she has gotten too drunk at a party and hooked up with a stranger. When she creeps into the bathroom and turns on the lights, something is off about the way her hands look: they're aged, slightly wrinkled. Looking up into the mirror, she sees a person that should be twenty years younger¶ She starts to panic, and then she sees photos taped to the mirror: one of the man in the bed next to her labeled Ben, your husband, one of this older version of her herself labeled úChristine, several of the two of them¶ She starts screaming, waking the man in the bed. Ben explains that a car hit her twenty years back. This has caused her brain to forget everything it has learned when she goes to sleep. Therefore, she must start from the beginning every single morning. Christine finds a notebook stashed in her closet detailing the past 13 days. Scribbled on the front says: úDon't trust Ben. There is also the phone number of a Dr. Nash.

Part 2: This part is in past tense. The next thirteen chapters detail the struggles Christine has gone through trying to recover her memory. She has met with Dr. Nash behind Ben's back, since Ben supposedly doesn't want any more doctors interrupting their life. He feels that they have a happy routine, and anything that interrupts that is bad for his wife. However, Christine can't shake the uncomfortable feeling she gets when she is around him. She feels like she has a child, but Ben repeatedly tells her that they weren't parents. Searching the house for clues when Ben is at work, she discovers a box locked in Ben's desk with photos of them and their child, Adam. When she confronts Ben, he tells her that Adam died in Afghanistan a few years prior and that he lied to protect her from reliving the pain of that experience. All the white, Dr. Nash is trying to revive her memory by bringing her to places from her past: the house she was living in when the accident happened, the psychiatric ward she lived in for several years after the accident. Her memory starts coming back in bits and pieces, and she remembers that Ben and her got a divorce. She also remembers cheating on him.

Part 3: This part is in present tense. After her supposed husband Ben takes her to a room by the ocean, a flood of memories come back to Christine. She remembers having an affair with a man named Mike. She also remembers trying to leave him because she was still in love with Ben. When she tries, Mike bashes her face into the bathroom floor of a hotel room, which causes her brain injury. It is the same hotel room she is now in. That's when she discovers that man she has been living with for all these years is really Mike. Ben had divorced her years ago since it was too difficult to explain to their young son why his mother didn't remember them. Mike forged Ben's signature and broke Christine out.

In the end, a fire is started in the hotel room, and Mike dies. Ben arrives and tells Christine that he still loves her and that Adam is still alive. The book ends on a hopeful note, since Christine has started to retain more and more memories when she wakes in the morning.
Best part of story, including ending: I liked this story because it was originally told, specifically, in a series of journal entries. Also, having a woman start from the beginning day after day could have been boring, but the author found a way to keep the plot moving forward.

Best scene in story: The first scene when she wakes up and can't remember who she is. It's very gripping, and keeps me interested in the plot.

Opinion about the main character: I like that Christine is a fighter. She trusts her gut and figures out a way to use her disability in her favor.

The review of this Book prepared by Sarah T. Schwab a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Before I Go To Sleep

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   amnesia Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   artist Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American) Unusual characteristics:    -   Mentally ill


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () Misc setting    -   resort/hotel

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   actual description of hetero sex Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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S.J. Watson Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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