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I Can't Be Silent After Reading The Silent Patient

Book Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides 

The Silent Patient Book

I was doing some holiday shopping with my husband when we stopped by a local bookstore. Upon entering, I made a beeline for the Thriller and murder/mystery section (as per usual). 

The cover of The Silent Patient immediately caught my attention. I’m not sure if it was due to optimal shelf placement just slightly below eye level, but something about the red title, cover art, and the brief but compelling review from the bookstore critic made me eager to take it home. 

Plus there’s nothing better than snuggling up with a warm blanket and a new book during a cold winter night. Am I right?!

I read this book in three days, reading for an hour or two each night. The Silent Patient could easily be devoured in one day though, and you'll probably be tempted to do so. I know I was. 

Read on to learn why I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.  

Book Review The Silent Patient

Summary (no spoilers):

Artist Alicia Berenson hasn’t uttered a word since her husband’s murder, and she now spends her days heavily medicated in a psychiatric unit. What does she know about her husband’s death and what is she hiding? Criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber is determined to find out as he becomes entangled in the mystery that surrounds the silent patient. He’s devoted to her care, but will he be able to convince her to speak?

What I liked:

1. Unpredictability  

I never knew ‘who done it’. Believe me, I thought I did...twice...and was wrong both times which both delighted and baffled me since I'm a self-proclaimed crime detective. It was truly difficult to determine the truth until turning those final few pages and I relished every suspenseful second. 

2. Structure 

As a fellow writer, I couldn’t help but admire the way author Alex Michaelides structures this story as he seamlessly but purposefully transitions back and forth from Alicia’s diary entries to the perspective of criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber. There were times when I felt like I didn’t know where one character ended and the other began.

3. Symbolism 

The subtle yet meaningful references to thorns, blood, and trapped rats (to name a few) show that Michaelides is a true wordsmith.   

4. To the point 

I appreciate that Michaelides jumps right into the action (aka murder) at the beginning of the novel. This sucked me into the suspense immediately and the remaining chapters certainly didn't disappoint. I would be hard pressed to find unnecessary copy or ‘fluff’ in this book.

5. Hard to say goodbye  

This book is hard to put down. Seriously. The short, easily-digestible chapters make you think you can read just one more, but you can’t…so just give in and keep reading.

What I disliked:

1. Dear diary...

The only piece of this impressive work that felt slightly off to me were some of the diary entries. To think that someone could document entire conversations in their diary with such specific detail didn’t resonate with me as a reader. I understand that the contents of the diary are a critical piece of the story that needed to be told, but a few of the entries with longer quoted conversations threw me out of the story for a brief moment. With that being said, Alicia is incredibly intelligent and detail-oriented, so who am I to say that it is or isn't possible for her to have such vivid recollections?!

Aside from that, I didn't dislike anything else about this book. It is phenomenal and worthy of all the praise it has received. 

Recommended for: 

I'd recommend this book to those who enjoy thriller, murder/mystery, and criminal psychology since this book is a blend of all three (with a twist). If the human psyche fascinates you, you'll definitely want to take a peek at these pages. The perfect suspenseful story for your next snow day or long flight.