The next meeting of the All Good Books group will be held at 7 PM on Thursday, June 14, 2012 at the Leawood Pioneer Library (4700 Town Center Drive, Leawood, KS) in the meeting room. The group will discuss “Before I Go To Sleep” by S. J. Watson.

Here are a few questions we could discuss at our June meeting.

  1. The book is categorized by books.google.com as “Novel, Suspense, Thriller.” Did it seem like a suspense/thriller novel in the beginning?
  2. Some reviewers have indicated “you have to suspend a little bit of disbelief to get through the book.” Do you agree?
  3. Why do you think Ben did not acknowledge Christine’s novel?
  4. How would you cope with a loss of memory every time you fell into a deep sleep? Do you think the author’s solution (journaling) would be the best and only solution?
  5. Did you see any logical flaws in the events of the novel? Were they due to the author’s failure or due to Christine being an “unreliable witness?”
  6. On pages 149-153, Ben and Christine go to a restaurant and dine at a table next to an elderly couple with a daughter in her twenties. The daughter, though she can clumsily feed herself, is obviously dependent on her elderly parents for assistance. Christine thinks, “I could see their lives, broken, trapped by the role of caregivers, a role they had expected to be free of years before. We are the same, I thought. I need to be spoon-fed, too. And, I realized, rather like them and their child, Ben loves me in a way that can never be reciprocated.”  What was your reaction to that scene? Do you think that caregivers love “in a way that can never be reciprocated?” Does that kind of love grow only out of care-giving?
  7. How painful would it be to rediscover your past every morning: the joys, successes and tragedies? Would you want to rediscover only the good and not the painful portions of your history? See page 142-143for Christine’s thoughts on the issue.
  8. On page 155, Christine laments the fact that she doesn’t have a normal life; “with experience building on experience, each day shaping the next.” Being able “to grow, to learn things and from things.” If you had daily amnesia, is that what you would miss the most? Is that the essence of a “normal life?” What are your reflections on the middle paragraph on page 155?
  9. On page 206, Dr. Nash states that “We invent memories. Without thinking.” Did you consider that some of the inconsistencies in Christine’s story might be based on invented memories? Do you think that you have invented memories or “rewritten history to make things easier?”
  10. Did it surprise you that Christine and her husband were divorced while she was institutionalized? Did you accept Ben’s explanation (page 244-245)? What would you have done?
  11. On page 317, Christine tries to justify the bruise she has after Ben hits her. How would you react in that situation? Why do you think that abused individuals often blame themselves? A recent episode of the TV show Glee addressed this issue with the implication that once a man hits his wife, the abuse will continue; the only option is for the abused individual to leave the marriage. What are your thoughts on the issue?
  12. How predictable were the final revelations about the relationships between the characters in the last 80 pages? Was the ending a surprise or anticipated?
  13. On page 333-334, Mike talks about how he and Chris met and Chris then reflects on how “their relationship slipped over the line.” Is the depiction realistic? Could that happen to a happily married couple?
  14. Was the ending satisfying? What do you think happened on the “morning after” the final page of the novel?
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