Archive for the ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ Category


Some people liked it, some people definitely did not; but everyone in Booked For The Day had an opinion about the thriller “Before I Go To Sleep” by S.J. Watson when we discussed it in October. And now it’s being made into a movie! EarlyWord.com is reporting that Nicole Kidman is signed on to play Christine, and that the film just cast Mark Strong as the doctor trying to help her reclaim her memory. You can read the EarlyWord article here, and there is a little mention of the film adaptation on the Wikipedia article for the book, here.


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Amnesia can be a popular literary and film devise. Christine Lucas, the main character in “Before I Go To Sleep” by S.J. Watson, has some company in not knowing who she can trust and/or having some identity problems because of her memory issues. Check out the list of other fictional (and one real-life-adapted-for-film!) amnesiacs:

  • Jason Bourne, The Bourne Identity ( also based on the fictional books by Robert Ludlum, also available at the library ) :  Pulled from the sea with two bullets in his back, Jason Bourne discovers he has the skills of a very dangerous man and no memory of his violent past. But to the government, Jason Bourne is a malfunctioning thirty million dollar weapon.


  • Lucy Whitmore, 50 First Dates : Henry Roth is a man afraid of commitment up until he meets the beautiful Lucy. They hit it off and Henry think he’s finally found the girl of his dreams, until he discovers she has short-term memory loss and forgets him the very next day.


  • Paige, The Vow : A young couple have a car accident that puts the wife in a coma. After she wakes up with severe memory loss, her husband sets his sights on winning her heart again.

– This is based on the real life story of Krickitt Carpenter; who along with her husband, wrote a book about that presents the true story of the couple that fell in love again after the wife, Krickitt, suffered a traumatic brain injury in an automobile crash and lost all memory of her previous life.

  • Leonard Shelby, Memento : A revenge thriller about a man with a damaged memory chasing a murderer whose identity he cannot possibly ever know for sure.


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Clive Wearing & Henry Molaison

The author’s note at the end of “Before I Go To Sleep” by S.J. Watson says that the book was “inspired notably by Henry Gustav Molaison and Clive Wearing,” (page 359).

Clive Wearing’s amnesia was caused by a virus, and his story is shared in a book by his wife Deborah Wearing, titled”Forever Today: A Memoir of Love and Amnesia.” The book can be interlibrary loaned if you would like to read it. There is also a article on Mr. Weaving on Wikipedia here, as well as one from The New Yorker from 2007 here.

There are also several videos on memory featuring Clive Wearing; many of which can be found on youtube by searing for “Clive Wearing” – you can watch one of them here.


Henry Molaison’s amnesia was caused by a surgery removing parts of his brain that was thought would help his epilepsy; there is also has an article on Wikipedia, here. NPR did a story on him in 2007 ( a year before he died), that can be found here.

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A hotel at Brighton Pier is the setting for a dramatic moment in Christine’s past, as well as the climax in the present day of the book in “Before I Go To Sleep” by S.J. Watson. Located in Brighton, England its official name is “Brighton Marine Palace and Pier” and is known in England as a “pleasure pier”. It is a local amusement park, with roller coasters, water slides, and lots of carnival entertainment. The official website of the pier is here.

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In “Before I Go To Sleep” by S.J. Watson, Christine keeps a journal, that is a large portion of the book itself. In the final parts of this journal Christine meets with her long-time friend Claire at Alexandra Palace in London where they live.


Alexandra Palace, also known as “The People’s Palace” and has the nickname of “Ally Pally”, was built in 1873 as a public recreation, education, and entertainment center. In 1936 the BBC operated the world’s first public “high definition” television service from there, and the original Studios A & B are still there. You can visit the official website at www.alexandrapalace.com


When talking on the phone with Claire, Christine also mentions that she lives in the Crouch End part of London. There is no official site for this neighborhood, but you can read more about it on Wikipedia, here.

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View of the London from Parliament Hill

Early in “Before I Go To Sleep” by S.J. Watson, Ben and Christine go for an afternoon walk to Parliament Hill. Ben tells Christine that “We come here often” and Christine describes it –

The city sprawled before us under the the low cloud. It seemed peaceful. And smaller than I imagined; I could see all the way across the it to low hills in the distance. I could see the thrust of the Telecom tower, St. Paul’s dome, the power station at Battersea, shapes I recognized, though dimly and without knowing why. There were other, less familiar, landmarks, too: a glass building shaped like a fat cigar, a giant wheel, way in the distance. (page 48).


Parliament is not housed at Parliament Hill, but the area has had that name since the 17th century. You can find more information on Parliament Hill here.


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