Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Book review: The Silent Patient

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.

13 comments:

  1. I read that book! And of course now I can't remember what the ending was. Of course. But I remember I was shocked!
    I just finished a book that I really did love. I think it would be great for a book club. "Gravity is the Thing" by Jaclyn Moriarty.

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  2. Couple of books here that are possibilities for our book club. Thank you.

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  3. This DOES sound good! I'm going to check out the Kindle version on Amazon.

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    1. I just bought a Kindle copy! And I see the author's second novel, "The Maidens," has just been published today -- another psychological thriller but with a Greek mythology angle. It looks good too!

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    2. Enjoy! And do let me know what you think of it! I did know about The Maidens and I'm sure I'll be reading it sooner or later.

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  4. The book sounds good, and I hope the doctor helped you with that awful pain.

    Love,
    Janie

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  5. That sounds really interesting. It also sounds like the kind of book that could be eventually made into a movie.

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  6. I found it ironic that you were writing about the "Silent Patient" while you were waiting silently as a patient to see your doctor! Hope the neck is better!

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  7. My book club read the book a few years ago. I can't remember exactly what the twist was, but I know I enjoyed the book. Hope that your neck is feeling better.

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  8. Sometimes books that make us feel uncomfortable are extremely good Kasuo Isiguros Never let Me go is very like that.

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  9. LOL
    thank you for the shout out
    As I started reading my reaction was 'dear me, this sounds like work!"
    When I read, I want to escape work I will take a pass. hohoho

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  10. That sounds truly intriguing, thank you for the well-written, not too revealing review!
    I hope your doctor was able to help with the neck pain. I trust you are familiar with the (British?) expression "a pain in the neck"...

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  11. going to library today..see if Nancy has it or can get it for me..sounds good.

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