While I sit here and wait to go to my 2:30 doctor's appointment, I thought I'd pass the time by writing a quick review of my book club's selection for June: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
First, a brief synopsis from Goodreads.
The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him....
I'm impressed that this is the author's first book. Everyone kept saying that the "twist" at the end was shocking and that you'd never be able to figure it out. That turned out to be 100% true! I was trying hard to figure it out while I read (and came up with some crazy theories) but I wasn't even close. The reveal was so well done that you're literally in the middle of a sentence when it all falls in place and it's a giant WTF?! moment. And it's a particularly nasty twist, too. It hits like a punch to the gut. It made me uncomfortable, to be honest, and a friend I spoke to yesterday said it made her so uncomfortable that she just couldn't like the book despite how well done it was. I'll be interested to see what the rest of the group thought. We have our meeting tomorrow night.
Dr. Spo might well be interested in The Silent Patient because of the relationship between Alicia and her psychotherapist, Theo, and how his story runs parallel to hers. I kept thinking of him as I read it. If you're interested, it's a quick and entertaining summer read, especially if you enjoy psychological thrillers and mysteries, and I'd lay wagers on the fact that you won't see the ending coming. Disturbing or not, it was good fun and I thought it was a nice choice for book club.