"The Silent Patient" Book Review
Alicia Berenson was just a painter, living a semi lavish lifestyle with her endearing husband Gabriel. She was pretty and a little troubled but not insane... not until she shot Gabriel in the face five times and never spoke another word after. No one knows why she did it and her silence only paints her portrait as guilty. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist obsessed with Alicia's case, he leaves his already reputable job to work for The Grove, a psychiatric facility that isn't far from shutting its doors permanently, but Theo needs to know Alicia. Soon he takes on an investigation of his own into the life of Alicia Berenson before her husbands murder, and uncovers the truth behind the silent patient.
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A brilliant psychological thriller, you will want to devour it in one sitting and think about it for months after.
Why I Loved This Book
Steady Flow- I read "The Silent Patient" in approximately two elongated sittings for I just could not put it down. The novel is meticulously written to just give you enough information to keep you guessing but never enough that you honestly feel like your getting it right.
Emotional Connections- I can't imagine it's easy to write about a character who doesn't speak and brutally murders their husband but still create a form of empathy between the reader and the primary character. The author Alex Michaelides uses a simple yet effective trick in order to accomplish this connection. Basically, by having Alicia write a journal about the events leading up to her husband's murder, we learn the emotional drive of the character and create a connection for she is simply just another damaged soul trying to make the best of her life with a husband that she seems to loves.
...we often mistake love for fireworks - for drama and dysfunction. But real love is very quiet, very still. It's boring, if seen from the perspective of high drama. Love is deep and calm - and constant.— Alex Michaelides, The Silent Patient
Love as a Theme- A driving force in "The Silent Patient" is the concept of love, but not love in the traditional sense. We are constantly pondering as a reader what is acceptable and unacceptable in a relationship and to what lengths will a person go to for or against the ones they love. What I really enjoyed about this exploration was how it twisted relationships not just between main characters and the partners but also their friendships and family.
The End- All my reviews aim to be spoiler free so this will be no exception, so without giving to much information away I have to inform you that I thought I knew what was going to happen. I thought right from the beginning that I was smarter and had everything figured out and it was so obvious that I only had to finish the book just to prove my own arrogance. Boy was I wrong. I actually had to reread the last chapter just to regather all my wits about me for I was wrong! "The Silent Patients" ending is brilliant, masterfully written and overall extremely satisfying for the reader. So if you start this novel and feel like you might have to DNF it (Do Not Finish) ...stick it through!
Why Some Aren't Finishing The Book
When entering a psychological thriller its important to know that their purpose is to make you think. The reader isn't meant to know what happens right off the hop but slowly be fed little hints throughout the ride. Some have action but usually, it's pretty limited. "The Silent Patient" has received a lot of hype since its release especially about its epic ending, therefore drawing in readers who don't typically read this genre. It is a story with a slow build and very minimal action, so if you are not a reader who can be driven by the WHY of a story then it is very likely you will DNF (Do Not Finish) this novel.
Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive, and will come forth later, in uglier ways.— Sigmund Freud
"The Silent Patient" is a must read especially if you are new to the psychological thriller genre. I couldn't put this novel down and highly recommend that if you decide that this novel is next on your TBR (To Be Read) list that you figure out how long it will roughly take for you to read it, find the time and just sit down and do it. From many other reviews, I have read those who do not enjoy the book purely just find it drags out, I do not agree... but understand some stories are better read like a bandage. Rip it off. Don't take your time to absorb it but simply read it and enjoy it as if it were a movie.
If you end up reading "The Silent Patient" let me know what you thought of it in the comments below. If you have another juicy psychological thriller you think I might enjoy as well leave me the title and authors name!