The Silent Patient
Book Review - The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
I am so behind on posting about my Book of the Month selections. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides was my January 2018 selection - that’s 6 months behind schedule. The sad part is, these are often some of the books I enjoy the most. I love that you get a curated list of pre-approved books so that your options aren’t overwhelming. Sometimes when I walk into a library and see the vast number of books at my disposable, I’m paralyzed with indecision. Book of the Month helps by offering just 5 books each month in a variety of genres. You also get information that helps you filter out your selections (such as is this book over 500 pages? Then count me out…I have commitment issues and can’t sit still for 500 pages.) I’ve been a member of BOTM for about two years now and even though I don’t have time to read all of the books I want to read, I still keep up my membership for those rainy days when you just need a great book.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is about Alicia Berenson, a famous painter, who is married to a popular fashion photographer (already you know why I selected this book, right? I’m a sucker for characters with artistic and creative careers.) When Alicia’s husband returns home late one night, she shoots him five times in the head and then never speaks another word. Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who wants to help Alicia talk again. As they begin working together, his motivations are questioned and he becomes obsessed with Alicia’s case. I loved the premise of this book - a psychiatric patient suffered trauma and refuses to (or is unable to?) speak. Thus making the point of every murder mystery novel, to find out who the murderer is and why they murdered, difficult since the accused can’t (won’t?) share her side of the story. Insert the psychotherapist who should be helping the accused speak her truth, but every human has their own agenda and motivations. Is Theo’s agenda for the good of Alicia or just his own career?
At times I really enjoyed this book. It is written from the perspectives of multiple characters so the reader is left to piece things together as they are revealed by different characters. We also get a variety of mediums in which these perspectives or delivered, a diary for example. I love the mix of mediums and how they are used to deliver information in unique ways. I was really intrigued by Alicia’s character - I thought the author did a great job developing her and making her a complex character that we couldn’t quite pin down. I didn’t love Theo’s character. He wasn’t as well developed and seemed a bit thrown together. Regardless, I liked the twists at the end that made for an interesting read and kept the pages turning!