Book Review: The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelides
This is Alex’s debut novel and what a debut !! I read this back in April and it still is my favourite of this year. This psychological thriller will definitely deliver all the shocks and on your seat reading! He is a screenwriter that wrote The Devil You know (2013) and The Con is On (2018). If Alex keeps pumping out books like The Silent Patient he will move up fast in the bestselling author world. I can’t wait to read what he puts out next!!!
We start off with a bang, literally. Alicia is a well known artist who lives with her successful photographer husband Gabriel. Years years ago Alicia shot her husband in the face, then refused to talk. Alicia was found with her wrists slit and Gabriel was tied to a chair. She is sent to a psychiatric hospital in hopes with therapy she will talk, think again. Enter Theo a new psychiatrist transferred to the hospital where Alicia is residing called the Grove. He does this because he says he was interested in her case 6 years ago and he thinks he can help her talk now.
Theo discovers through his digging that after the murder Alicia’s painting changed. The one immediately after is based on the Greek Mythology called -self sacrifice . Was this her way of coping and expressing her feelings after the murder?
We see that Theo himself has some mental health issues. He has addictions like smoking and marijuana use. He also has some past issues. Early psychoanalytic therapy has saved him. Alicia also has some childhood issues so maybe he sees himself in her broken psyche. Is this what would happened to him if he did not get help? Does he want to save Alicia because someone has saved him? His view on psychotherapy is that it is his job to feel the patient’s feelings then send them back to the patient. Does he feel Alicia’s feelings?
We get a character view of Alicia through these mysterious journal entries. We see that she loved Gabriel very much but this may have turned into an obsession – she started painting him in Jesus’s image. Theo is also exhibiting an obsession with Alicia even after she attacks him after a 1:1 and he has her medications decreased.
Obsession seems to be a common theme throughout this novel. Theo is obsessed that Kathy is cheating on him. Instead of talking things out with her he proceeds to stalk her and read through her computer. Alicia becomes obsessed that a man is stalking her and she cannot tell anyone.
We find through the journal entries and through Theo interviewing Alicia’s friends and family Alicia had previous suicide attempts. After her father dies to tries to kill herself, she has had many suicide attempts at the Grove. We learn further in the book that her mother drive herself and Alicia into a wall, killing the mother but not Alicia. Alicia’s father then blames Alicia for killing her mother and she is dead to him – where her mental health issues started.
While reading this book I was thinking of so many different possibilities for the ending – which makes this a great thriller. When the reader cannot guess the ending because there are too many possible endings it’s a great book. The endings of this book is freaking amazing. Huge spoiler alerts ahead. So we learn that the person Kathy was cheating on Theo with was Gabrielle. Yes it gets better. Theo then stalks Kathy and Gabrielle and he is the man that Alicia sees outside her window. Wow And Theo goes bat shit crazy , breaks into into Alicia’s home to tell he that her husband is cheating on her. He ends up tieing bot Gabrielle and Alicia up and gives Gabrielle a chance to choose between saving himself or Alicia. He chooses himself. Theo then gives Alicia the gun and tells her she has a choice, shoot a man who does not truly love her and is extremely selfish. (Hence the greek mythology Alcestis reference). She ends up shooting Gabrielle but what a twist to get us there!!!!!!!
So what did you all think of the Silent Patient. Did you love it as much as I did or was it not your favourite? As always feel free to leave comments below ! If you have any suggestions for psychological thrillers please leave them below.