Here's a surprise: another thriller I didn't enjoy.
19 August 2011
Before I go to sleep tonight I have to tell you about the utterly disappointing reading experience that I had with S. J. Watson's Before I Go to Sleep.
This novel's been getting a lot of buzz, and I understand that the author is being heralded as a prodigious talent (who was accepted into the new Faber Academy Writing a Novel course, where this novel was completed). I think it's being marketed as a thriller, although whether it should actually be called a thriller or a suspense novel is a fight I'll leave up to people who do more reading in those genres.
This novel worked in that I had to finish it for some closure, and in that it was a quick read, which seems to be what most people desire in a thriller. Christine is a middle-aged woman who wakes up every morning not remembering any of her life that came after her "accident," which her husband Ben, with whom she lives, tells her happened when she was twenty-nine. Each day, therefore, is a similar one of getting up, being told who she is and what happened, and then whiling away the day at home until Ben comes home and they spend time together. Until, that is, Christine starts secretly meeting with a doctor who has some ideas for how to help her regain her memory, including the suggestion that she start a journal (which he will call her about every day, to remind her of their treatment and to read the journal).
So far so good. And for about 50 pages I was actually interested. But then it slowed down and I started to get the inkling that the solution to the suspense part of the novel was going to be pretty simple. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: if I'm figuring out the mystery, the mystery is TOO EASY. I then shot myself in the foot and read the last ten pages, which I do a lot with mysteries*, but which pretty much confirmed what I already knew. In all the only feeling I can sum up about this one is "meh."** But that's largely the way I feel about thrillers anyway, so no news there.
*I know you're not supposed to do that with mysteries, but it's just habit now. And if it's a good mystery I'm reading, I don't mind...I read the end, then just go back to whatever page I was on and finish the whole thing with no less enjoyment. It's too late to change now--once I read all the Agatha Christies that way the habit was formed.
**Mr. CR read this one too, even though I tried to warn him off about it. He was liking it for a quite a while, but last night when I was reading something else he came into the room to discuss what he thought were a few of the gaping plot holes and the abrupt ending. I agreed with him completely, and also couldn't help reminding him that I tried to spare him the time of reading the whole thing, he just didn't listen. Because that's just the super-special wifely way I roll.