Book Review: The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelides
‘The Silent Patient’ was author, Alex Michaelides’ debut novel, released in 2019. It was a well-received, popular crime-thriller and has since sold over a million copies.
The novel follows the story of Alicia Berenson a popular painter, who famously killed her husband, Gabriel, shooting him in the head and slitting her wrists after six years of marriage, just six years before the story began. After the murder, she was left unable to speak, and nobody, friend, family, lawyer or psychologist had been able to break her silence, whether it was self-imposed and conscious or still deeply rooted within her trauma remained unknown, but her mental state had saved her from serving her sentence in prison, and instead, had been sent to heal at a psychological facility.
The story, is told in-part through Alicia’s past journal entries, written in the days leading up to the murder, and simultaneously, narrated through the eyes of her new psychotherapist, Theo Faber.
Theo feels uniquely suited to make Alicia Berenson speak, and seeks unorthodox methods to bring Alicia to speak, including reaching out to her friends and family, blurring the boundaries between patient and psychologist.
I was at the edge of my seat as I began to unfurl the threads to the mystery of Gabriel Berenson’s murder, the potential suspects, Alicia included, and of course, and was deeply invested in understanding the version of events, from two mentally ill, unreliable narrators, one operating in the moment and the other reflecting on the past. I loved getting to see the parallels between Theo and Alicia as the story went on. It was captivating and engrossing. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page!
Although, I previously had little experience reading thriller novels but this book certainly opened my eyes to a new realm of possibilities for evocative and exciting storytelling. I am looking forward to delving deeper into this genre in the future, but certainly felt that Michaelides’ book was a great way to test the waters, and can’t wait to read more.