During my month-long stay in CT, I downloaded novels like crazy. Two of the best were deeply affecting and not for those who like their fiction upbeat and cheerful.
The first book in the dynamic duo was “Before I Go To Sleep.”
A debut novel by S.J. Watson, this story held me spellbound from its first page to its last. Seriously. It’s a thriller in the best sense of the word – a book that surprises and scares and keeps you guessing what will happen next. Its heroine wakes up every morning with no memory. She suffers from a very unique brand of amnesia that requires her to keep a daily journal in order to remember who she is and, with any luck, what got her into the precarious state she’s in. Can she trust her husband? Can she trust the doctor who’s treating her? Can she trust her best friend? The author does a skillful job of making the story plausible and the heroine flawed yet someone we can root for. I highly recommend the book unless you’re easily spooked.
My number two favorite was “Room.”
People have been talking and debating and book-clubbing over Emma Donoghue’s novel, so I was curious what my opinion of it would be. What I came away with was a profound appreciation for a writer who took a difficult subject, gave it a five-year-old boy as its narrator and kept the voice consistent throughout.
“Room” is the story of a young woman who was abducted by a brutal rapist, held captive in a garden shed and, after she gave birth to a son, had to mother the boy in their confined space until they escaped. From the boy’s perspective, it’s the outside world that’s full of danger and pain and strange people. Some readers have criticized Donoghue for ending the novel too abruptly and without sufficient resolution, but I appreciate that she left something to our imagination. In my view, the ending was just right – disturbing but appropriate.
I’m just starting another novel, but both “Before I Go To Sleep” and “Room” are staying with me. Maybe I’m not ready to move on.