The Silent Patient Book Review (2024)

Table of Contents

The Silent Patient was published back in 2019 as Alex Michaelides’s debut book, making its own place in the market. It became a 2019 New New York Times Bestseller and 2019 Sunday Times Bestseller. Not only did it win Goodreads Choice Awards: for the Best Mystery Thriller, but also sold 6.5 million copies worldwide in 50 countries. That’s why The Silent Patient Book Review is a must-read for book enthusiasts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Michaelides was born in 1977 in Nicosia,Cyprus. He holds an M. A in English literature from Trinity College, Cambridge University, and an MA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute.

He is well-known in the writing community for his works that revolve around psychology, mythology, mystery and crime. Alex was honored with the Man of the Year and International Cypriot awards at the 22nd Bank of Cyprus Man of the Year Awards 2023 ceremony.

Alex Michaelides has left a lasting impact in the psychological thriller book market, and copies of his works still continue to top the lists even today.

He keeps his readers updated on below socials:

BOOK RATINGS

Silent Patient has always made to the top when it comes to rating lists.

1. Goodreads (4.2/5)

2. Barnes & Noble (4.5/5)

3. Amazon.com (4.4/5)

4. Google Play (4.6/5)

THEME

The main theme in the Silent Patient book revolves around Psychology, Greek mythology, thriller and crime. Throughout the storyline, the theme intertwines with concepts such as childhood trauma, therapy, tragedy (including suicide & murder), mental and physical abuse, mental illness, psychological horror, deception, empathy and personal boundaries.

Additionally, the book sheds light on psychological struggles related to Borderline Personality disorder, OCD, Dementia, Schizophrenia, and more.

MAIN CHARACTERS

1. Theo Faber (The forensic psychoanalyst)

2. Alicia Berenson ( Famous Painter)

3. Kathy ( Theo’s wife; works in theater)

4. Gabriel (Alicia’s husband; Fashion Photographer)

5. Lydia Rose (Alicia’s Aunt)

6. Paul Rose (Alicia’s Cousin)

7. Christen West (Primary Therapist)

8. Stephanie Clarke (Groove’s Manager)

9. Lazarus Diomedes (Clinical Manager)

10. Barbie Hellmann (Alicia’s Neighbor)

11. Max Berenson (Alicia’s Lawyer and Gabriel’s adopted older brother)

12. Jean-Felix Martin (Alicia’s gallerist)

13. Vernon Rose (Alicia’s Father)

14. Ruth (Theo’s childhood therapist)

15. Yuri (Head Nurse at The Groove)

16. Chief Inspector Steven Allen (Detective)

PLOT SUMMARY

The Silent Patient is a psychological thriller with Theo Faber as the main narrator and protagonist(1), complemented by epistolary portions fron Protagonist(2) Alicia‘s diary. The story has been told in 69 chapters.

[A novel told through a series of letters or diary entries is known as an epistolary novel]

The story begins with Alicia, a renowned painter who lives with her husband Gabriel, a prominent fashion photographer, in a well established posh neighbourhood.

The couple lives quiet a luxurious life. Both of them have succeeded in their careers. Alicia paints for a prestigious gallery which exhibits her work with a boujee essence. The gallerist, Jean Felix Martin is her old childhood friend who also looks after her paintings. Gabriel on the other side, has recently completed his project with the magazine Vogue and has already begun working on a brand new project.

Their tranquil life takes a dark turn when their neighbor reports gunshot sounds from Alicia’s house. The detectives rush over and witness a gruesome sight.

Upon entering, they saw Gabriel roped to a chair with his hands and feet tied and Alicia standing beside him, looking over the front yard with her wrists slit open. As they got closer, they figured out that Gabriel had been shot five times in the face so much so that he was unrecognizable. The weapon of assault was a handgun with Alicia’s fingerprints all over it.

The investigation continues over a period of 2 years but Alicia had become silent since the night of murder. In the end, with all the evidences against her she was charged with murder of her husband and sent to a mental institution as she was diagnosed unstable and suicidal.

Six years later, Theo Faber, a psychoanalyst working in some mental institution learns that Alicia Barrenson is being transferred to The Groove, a new psychiatric facility. He believes that Alicia has a story and might be innocent all along. So he transfers to The Groove to see for himself if he can help her to speak.

The Groove, operates under clinical director, Lazarus Diomedes who is intrigued to find Theo interested in working for the facility as the unit is heading towards closure with ongoing sponsorship crisis. He warns Theo that is could be the end of his career. Nonetheless, Theo is able to get the job without any further adieu .

Theo chooses Alicia as his first patient and finds that The Groove has kept her on high dosage of drugs. He could not believe, the Alicia he was used to seeing on TV is the same one present before her. He insists that the unit should lower the dosage so that Alicia is able to respond and converse. His colleagues inform him that Alicia has attempted multiple suicides since transfer and it can be dangerous not only for her but for other patients and doctors at the Institution.

After a long struggle, Theo is able to convince Alicia’s doctors to lower the dosage of her medications. But even after lowering her meds, Alicia shows no response. She did not talk. She did not paint. As her consciousness slowly returns, she attempts to slit her wrists again.

But Theo is convinced that Alicia is actually trying to express herself through her fits. So he decides to investigate her family and friends to know more about her childhood and upbringing. Upon diving deep, he learns that Alicia has attempted suicide in the past and has taken therapy as well. Delving into her past, he uncovers horrific bone chilling secrets about Alicia’s past.

Not only was Alicia abused in her childhood by her Father and Aunt but she has faced a horrendous fate since then. He could relate to her on a personal level as he himself was a victim of physical and mental abuse and has struggled throughout his life with the rememnats of trauma living within him. Even after continuous therapy for years, he is still haunted by the echoes of his own past. He expressed it in the book as:

“Unexpected emotions will never die. They are buried alive, and will come forth later, in uglier ways”

At The Groove, Theo’s colleagues are convinced that he has fallen for Alicia, a common occurrence when dealing with the patients on such an intricate level. However, Theo denies all the allegations believing that Alicia’s mental struggle mirrors his own.

As time went on, Theo discovered that Alicia had painted a nude self-portrait titled ‘ALCESTIS’, her only communication following Gabriel’s murder. He also learns that his wife Kathy personally knew Alicia’s husband Gabriel. Along the way, Theo uncovers buried secrets about the day of murder, including the presence of a stalker who intruded Alicia’s home on the day Gabriel died. All these revelations were hidden in Alicia’s diary, which Alicia gave him in his second last session with her before somebody tried to murder her with a medication overdose.

Each session brings Alicia and Theo close to each other, yet further from the truth. Theo realized that it wasn’t he who chose Alicia, but rather it was her who remembered him and chose him inn the end because Theo and Alicia shared a common past.

In the end of the book, Theo says:

“As I listen I look up to the white clouds drift past. Finally, they had opened- it had started to snow – snowflakes were falling outside. I opened the window and reached out my hand. I caught a snowflake. I watched it disappear, vanish from my finger tips. I smiled

And I went to catch another one

ALCESTIS IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY

Alcestis, in Greek mythology was the beautiful daughter of Pelias, the king of Iolcos.

When Apollo learned that Admetus had not long to live, he persuaded the Fates, the goddesses who determine human destiny, to prolong his life. The Fates imposed the condition that someone else must die in Admetus’s stead, and Alcestis, a loyal wife, consented to do. The warrior Hercules rescued Alcestis by wrestling with death at her grave.

MORE BOOKS BY ALEX MICHAELIDES

1. The Madens
2. The Fury

CONCLUSION

Silent Patient, is all in all, a meticulously written psychological thriller with unexpected turns that a reader cannot guess coming. We can argue that the title Silent Patient might be a little deceiving, until you read the book itself. Once you pick it up, it’ll glue itself to you till you turn the last page.

It’s an awesome choice for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers, murder mysteries, asylum cases, and mind work!

SIMILAR BOOKS

1. The Assistant (by: S. K. Tremayne)

2. 99 Red Balloons (by: Elisabeth Carpenter)

3. The Therapist (by: B. A. Paris)

4. Stranger (by: C. L. Taylor)

5. Local Woman Missing (by: Mary KubiIf you liked thisa)

If you liked The Silent Patient Book Review, You can also checkout our other blog posts like Shatter Me Series and Outlander Series.

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