Book Review: The Silent Patient

29 May

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.

The Silent Patient

Read the book.

There, that should be all that is needed for a book review. Right? A simple line saying either to read it, don’t read it, read it with low expectations…things along those lines. And yet, reviews are never that short, which means this one won’t be either, though I will do my best to not spoil anything for you, in case ya know, you actually go read the book.

The Silent Patient follows two story lines, Alicia’s and Theo’s.

Alicia is an artist who is in a psych hospital for killing her husband. The book is called The Silent Patient because Alicia stops talking, doesn’t say anything to the police who find her and her dead husband, not a word to her lawyers or other family members, not to any of the psychiatrists who try to treat her. Eventually she is committed and it looks like she’ll never get out. Her art becomes more valuable and there is a mystery around what really happened.

Theo is a psychotherapist who works at a different hospital but jumps at the chance to work where Alicia is when there is a job opening. He has been fascinated by her story since it first hit the news cycle and he is convinced he can help her.

The writing goes back and forth between Theo’s life, (his childhood, how he meets his wife, how his personal life is, through to some not so great parts about his personal life that I will refrain from mentioning so as to not ruin everything for you) and the time period in Alicia’s life leading up to the murder of her husband.

We get insights in to both characters personal lives, what they are thinking and feeling, we see how others treat them and how they cope with adversity.

Then the twist happens and boom! All the stuff you’ve been reading aligns in a slightly different way, clarity hits your brain, and you’re all “holy crap, I didn’t see that coming!”

Which you’ve got to admit is pretty great considering how often you can predict what the twist is going to be and how the book is going to end.

One thing, about a third of the way in to the book, it starts to drag and I got bored. Bored to the point I put the book down for three days and it was a max seven day borrow from the library, so not like I had three days to just waste. I only picked it back up because I hate leaving books unfinished, and I’m definitely glad I picked it back up. So prepare yourself for a potential loss of interest and push through it. Keep going, it’ll be worth it.

All of that to say…

Read the book.


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