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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

Review: John O’Farrell – The Man Who Forgot His Wife

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photoWhen I decided to read this book, I thought it was going to be quite a serious book about the effects of memory loss, but it was anything but serious.

Vaughan finds himself on a tube with no idea who he is, where he is or what he is doing there. He’s experienced a ‘fugue’; he has lost every personal memory that he had, although he can still remember general facts about world history etc (which is pretty useful since he finds out he is a history teacher). He ends up in hospital next to a rather annoying man who is insistent that he can help Vaughan recover his memory. He’s reading through a list of names to see if any of them can jog Vaughan’s memory (which Vaughan thinks is rather stupid), when all of a sudden something clicks. He remembers the name of one of his friends.

After he is released from the hospital to go stay with his friend Gary, he realises that not only does he not remember that he had a wife, but he is actually supposed to be divorcing her in 3 days time. The book is a story of him trying to win her back now that he is no longer the same person that he was before. Obviously, just because he can’t remember all the terrible things he did, doesn’t mean that his soon-to-be ex-wife Maddy has forgotten too, so his attempts at wooing her don’t go too well.

I won’t say too much about where the story goes from here because I don’t really want to spoil the ending, but it does involve: hiding in a bush and taking a hedge trimmer on the tube, a freezing cold dip in the atlantic ocean and a rather unconventional appearance in the divorce court.

I won’t give this book 5/5 because it’s probably not one that I would read again, but it’s a definite 4.

4-5

Review: S.J. Watson – Before I Go To Sleep

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sj-watson-before-i-go-to-sleepWell this book was described as ‘The best debut thriller for years’ and it totally lived up to that description, building up and up until a gripping finale that had me completely oblivious to everything happening around me.

In the first chapter, you wake up with Christine in an unfamiliar house, and are taken through her whole range of emotions as her husband Ben explains to her who she is and what has happened to cause her to lose all her memories. After he has gone to work, she receives a phone call from a doctor who claims to have been working with her without Ben’s knowledge. She doesn’t believe him at first, but she looks in her diary and can see their appointments. He then tells her about a journal she has been writing to remind herself of her life and the things she has been remembering, she’s kept it hidden in a shoebox in her wardrobe so Ben can’t see it. She opens up the diary and on the front page in capital letters are three words:

“DON’T TRUST BEN”

She sits down to read her journal and we are then reading it along with her. We are taken through every discovery she makes about her life, every memory that comes back to her, and the confusion that she has every time she wakes up. But she is making progress and starting to recall things from her past, flashbacks and little snippets of conversations. The story keeps you gripped as you wonder who to trust, just the same as Christine is trying to make the same decision. My mind was flickering back and forth and back and forth between Ben and Dr Nash, and as we got further through the journal every revelation changed my mind again.

That is until the end of the book when we switch back to the present day. Christine has read to the end of her diary, but notices that there is a week missing where she has no idea what has happened. This all leads to a fast paced and nail biting finale with the guy that she has realised she can’t trust. As I mentioned before, I couldn’t put the book down for the last 60 pages, and I was so involved in the story that I became completely unaware of everything around me. The way that the book is written means you feel like you are Christine, you’ve discovered every other part of herself at the same time as she has, so you feel just as terrified as she does.

I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but it was just as thrilling as the reviews led me to believe. I would highly recommend this book if you’re a fan of suspense, but don’t try and guess what will happen because it won’t be what you expected…

5-5

Now Reading: S.J. Watson – Before I Go To Sleep

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sj-watson-before-i-go-to-sleepThis book seems quite intriguing – I was stood in front of my bookshelf pulling random books off the shelf to decide which one to read next and this one jumped right out at me. From the back of the book:

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love – all forgotten overnight.

Sounds fairly average so far right? Then the last two sentences:

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

Sounds thrilling – I can’t wait!