S J Watson Before I Go To Sleep – Review

Before I Go To Sleep

The story of Christine Lucas made everything around me disappear – I was drawn right in.

She wakes up every morning and cannot remember anything. The man next to whom she wakes up reminds her day by day that he’s her husband and gives her little bits of information to make her understand the life she lost in a bizarre accident. Christine’s story is unusual, because she can store a lot of memories for hours, but during her sleep everything is erased. This quiet life, from day to day, resembles a kind of Groundhog’s Day, until one day it changes.

Dr Nash, whom apparently she’s been seeing for quite some time without her husband’s knowledge, suggests that she starts a diary that would help her remember. It is not easy for her, as she has to rely on her husband, Ben, on pretty much everything, but the diary has to be a secret.

This brings a sudden turn to the story. Writing and reading her diary every day, Christine learns about her life and herself to the point that she is able to maintain more and more memories. All of a sudden she is able to have continuity in her life, but it also brings on more than she can process in her mind. Fear and paranoia seize her and she no longer knows if she can trust anyone. Things which are true one day become dangerous lies the next. More and more people emerge from her lost memories – the son she can’t remember, a mysterious man named Ed, her best friend Claire who abandoned her, her parents who disappeared from her life and a man who was there and then, when she was robbed of her normal life. The question is, are they real people or just confabulations of her exhausted mind. There’s no easy way to see if anything or anybody is real.

The main plot brings up a question if she can remember enough to revive the memories of her ‘accident’ and find out who wanted to hurt her and why. The characters are believable and very vivid surrounded by a mundane London suburban life. The plot is predictable in many places; however, it does not make the story any less interesting. There are a few plot holes, but they might have been intentional to make the reader fill them in in the same manner as Christine would try to fill the gaps in her own memories.

I enjoyed the book very much – it kept me turning pages faster and faster. Even though the end is a climax of those little things I could guess from page to page, I thought it was poignant and compelling.

I would recommend the book to anyone who likes a quick read full of twists and turns.

Author: S J Watson

Title: Before I Go To Sleep

Publisher: Black Swan

Format: Paperback 384 pages

Published: 02/01/2012

ISBN: 9780552164139

Yann Martel Life of Pi – Review

Reading Life of Pi doesn’t spark love at first page. I grew to love it gradually – it was like growing up with Pi in his world full of colours, emotions and dilemmas.

Pi is an interesting character whose curiosity made me question a lot of things I thought I was certain about – a lot of moral dilemmas such as religion, and what a human being is ready to do and endure in order to survive.

After losing his family during their emigration to Canada, when the ship sank, Pi faces an excruciating journey across the Pacific Ocean. This journey tests him to the very limits – not only because he lost everything but also because of what he gained. First of all, he acquires a new companion – a Royal Bengal tiger amongst other animal passengers rescued after the ship sank. Both Pi and Richard Parker, which was the tiger’s name, learn how to live together and if it’s even possible in such a limited space.

This story is not a straightforward tale of a boy lost at the sea. It gives us an inquisitive insight into the human soul. Pi’s courage and persistence take him a long way and let him experience the best and worst moments of his life. The strange friendship he gained is not built on trust, but on the constant fear of being left completely alone. For me, in a symbolic meaning, it was a symbiosis of body and mind – a boy whose body was weakened by dehydration, starvation and weather, versus a mind which took the form of a ferocious wild animal that had survival as its critical aim at all costs.

The language in the book is truly haunting. Vibrant descriptions create unforgettable images – it applies to all colourful pictures of places and people, and also to those brutal and explicit scenes of extreme measures taken in order to survive. It left me stunned at moments of total bare honesty of the situation. Also, dreams and reality mix in the most bizarre ways – ways which perfectly complement this captivating story. I really liked the intertwining chapters in the book which shed a bit of light on what his life was like after his journey.

It’s a compelling story of survival and humanity in the most challenging setting. It’s one of those books which will make you think for hours and still would not provide clear answers, as each and every reader will have a different opinion and understanding of the story.

Author: Yann Martel

Title: Life of Pi

Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd

Format: Paperback 352 pages

Published: 04/10/2012

ISBN: 9780857865533