The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides: Book Review

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Book Cover

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2 Stars

Title: The Silent Patient
Author: Alex Michaelides
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: E-book

My Synopsis:

Theo is a pyschotherapist who is somewhat obssessed with the story of Alicia Berenson, a successful painter who murdered her husband, a celebrity photographer. After police find her holding the gun over her dead husband’s body, she doesn’t say a word. She paints one more picture and that’s that. The courts send her to a psychiatric hospital, where years pass and she largely fades from the public’s short-lived memory. Theo takes a job at her hospital and hopes to succeed in reaching her though so many have failed.

My Review:

I’m in the minority here, but I was not impressed. My contrarian streak shows up in all these twisty thrillers about women, which all seem to have the word girl in their title. I gave up on Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train; this one must be better since I actually finished it. Maybe the title wasn’t as derivative so it didn’t bother me as much. Who knows?

I was searching for something like Shutter Island, which is one of the books that really had a twist that blew my mind. It’s a high standard to meet. I found The Silent Patient high on a list of twisty thrillers and decided to give it a try.

Did it twist? Yes. Did I anticipate the twists? No. But did the twist make sense? Not really, not to me. It was just a shocking revelation for the sake of being shocking. I felt there was absolutely nothing that led to the conclusion. Call me naive, but do real people act this way? I don’t think so.

I initially rated this 3 stars on GoodReads because I thought it was forgettable. Two months have passed since I read it and I pretty actively dislike it now. I’m knocking it back to two stars.

The Silent Patient has ridiculously high ratings on GoodReads and it’s been optioned for a movie. I am very much in the minority in my dislike of this novel, so give it a try, especially if you liked Gone Girl, etc.

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  1. Oooh, I loved Shutter Island! Such a great twist, much like The Sixth Sense. I just finished Behind Her Eyes, which was pretty good if you don’t mind suspending disbelief.

    1. Shutter Island was so good! I think I passed that book around to everyone in my family after I read it, even the non-readers. I’ll look for Behind Her Eyes. I read a lot of fantasy so I am okay with suspending disbelief, I just ask that the world I’m reading about be consistent with itself. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Nice review, Jen. I too recently finished this book and as is my wont, am scanning blogs for others’ reaction to the book. I stand with the majority on this one in that I enjoyed it. You’re right in questioning ‘if normal people act this way’ but I think a central theme of the story is psychotherapy—inherently dealing with people whose mental states are outside the norm.

    FWIW my own review here:

    1. I tried to tell myself that the book was centered around people with forms of mental illness but I questioned everyone’s motivations. Not just the ones who are obvious after reading the book but even the other doctors and family members. I’m glad you enjoyed it though!

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