Unreliable Narrator

10323019Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Christine proves rather reliable in her unreliability as a narrator. But it’s not exactly breaking character since she can’t remember shit. I’ve had traumatic experiences in my life, and I can’t remember that particular time period. My mind is blank. It’s like that particular event didn’t happen, except I remember the before and the after and there’s a crumpled car to prove to me that I’m not just making shit up in my head. And if your entire world revolves around your husband Ben and you suddenly see three words in your diary—DON’T TRUST BEN—I can understand how that might be terrifying and traumatic for you. I’d equate it to building a million dollar mansion on quicksand.

The structure worked for me. It added suspense. Had BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP been structured any other way, it would have crumbled in on itself like an origami bird. But I didn’t like the ending. It felt a bit like cheating to me. *BEGIN SPOILER* Christine suddenly has her memory back or large chunks of it at least, because the supposed traumatic event is over, and Mike has been expunged from existence. It seemed a tad convenient for me. S.J. Watson may, or may not, have consumed an illegal substance during this period, and there’s a decent chance he may have inhaled. *END SPOILER*

But otherwise the story worked. It had a different feel to it, and I was turned on enough to want to know what happened, but I did have a sinking suspicion I had the ending figured out before it arrived.

For those of you who don’t like tangents, you’ll probably want to skip right on over this part. Let’s get one thing straight: There are no original plotlines. The well of lost plots has been used up, drying faster than the Nevada desert. Sure, it’s easy enough to make the argument that this story is similar to Memento, but so what? We might as well take every romance and mystery off the shelves…and sit around and wait for someone to come up with something “original.” I’ll save you the suspense: You probably have a better chance of meeting a little green alien, having him tickle your forehead, and then receiving a wet smack to the lips. Guess what? The Fast & The Furious is essentially the same as Point Break, only there’re cars and car racing instead of surfing. And the director of The Fast & The Furious is in preproduction on a remake of Point Break. You’re welcome.

But let’s get to the good news: Even without an endless number of plots, there are an endless number of ideas and experiences and opportunities and characters that writers can bring to the table, bringing an essential “uniqueness” to the creative drawing board. The Fast & The Furious feels different from Point Break because the characters are different. End tangent.

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