Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson
I'll tell you what I did like, though. There was a high level of tension and suspense from page one which had me reading and reading until the wee hours and hardly able to go to sleep myself. I love that, for the most part. The problem with this level of tension, though, is it better resolve in a timely manner and it better resolve in a satisfactory way or I'm going to be pissed. It's a case of The-higher-you-climb-the-harder-you-fall, ya know? I'm a tough audience, but whatever.
I do like a good psychological thriller of the Shutter Island kind, so I kept looking for clues and rereading passages hoping for that ah-ha moment. But when it finally came *spoilers* it was just too, WTF? That can't possibly have happened! Where were this woman's extended family? Parent's? Siblings? Cousins? Anybody who would have had some interest in her long term well being. I could (kind of) understand the hub wanting to take a break, but to TOTALLY ABANDON your brain damaged wife and mother of your son to an institution seems kind of low. Regardless of the affair she had been having, she's still your wife and you still love her so . . . you go to Italy? And the grown son decides it's best if he stops visiting his institutionalized mother too? For her own good 'because it upsets her too much'? No. I'm sorry, but I don't buy it. If it wasn't going to be either her sorry husband or son who cared enough, somebody out there needed to be informed that she was being released from the institution into the care of an abusive nutcase CLAIMING to be her 'husband'. And don't give me the 'high-staff-turnover-at-the-hospital' excuse for letting this happen. Details, you see. Details. I like them to be plausible.
Also, the tension. It went on too long. Unlike Shutter Island and A Beautiful Mind, which you think is one story and then it turns out to be another, a psychological turn of events that tickles my neurons in just the right way, Before I Go To Sleep lets you know that something is not right as soon as you start reading and then keeps ramping up the uh-oh factor. It's exciting at first but gets exhausting by the halfway point. It's an okay book that would have read better as a short story, I think.