♯2 The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Alicia Berenson lived a seemingly perfect life until one day six years ago. 

When she shot her husband in the head five times. 

Since then she hasn’t spoken a single word. 

It’s time to find out why.

Paperback | 339 pages

Publisher: Orion (12th December 2019)

@thisgirlsbookshelf gave such a glowing review of this on Instagram that I knew I had to read it from myself. I walked into it a little weary as people seemed to be divided in their opinion of the book. I started to read at a steady pace and before I knew it I had read ten chapters. The characters are very interesting and suspicious at the same time, the story flows steadily and holds secrets close to its chest, I feel like I’m embarking on a corker of a story.

I found this very easy to read. I actually read it in an afternoon. I scarified sleep just to finish it because I was so into what I was reading. It’s a very gripping story and the characters made me think a lot.

Alicia and Theo were complex characters and I was very invested in the story of what had happened and why it had happened. Alicia was a compelling character and Theo was a intriguing character. With Alicia I wanted to know all her secrets, she was more interesting because of her silence and her behaviour throughout made me think long and hard about the decisions we make as humans. Alicia also made me think about mental health a lot and how some people are still dragging their mental health through the dark ages versus the terrible treatment others still think are necessary regarding mental health. I felt a lot of emotions for Alicia, I was behind her character throughout the story and I never once viewed her negatively or believed she had committed the crime attached to her.

Theo was intense and intriguing, like an onion he had many layers that I wasn’t expecting to see. His obsession with Alicia and her treatment puzzled me, making me wonder what drove him and what the outcome of the sessions may be. In some ways, Theo was the chalk to Alicia’s cheese but then he was also the driving force for moving the story forward and unearthing little nuggets of information. Together, the characters danced like firelight in my eyes and as the story unfolded, I felt more and more about the characters portrayed.

I had no problem in visualising this. I felt that the scenes and characters were easy to navigate and I could clearly picture what was happening in detail.

I read this with an intensity I wasn’t expecting. I was completely drawn into the story and eager to dive into the pages and leave reality behind. The reveal shocked me because for all my thoughts and theories, I hadn’t even acknowledged what happened as a possibility. In a way I felt stupid for not seeing what was happening but I think the book is written rather cleverly in the way that it fires misdirections left, right, and centre, so I wasn’t actively looking for the answer. I did feel slight confusion over the reveal, and did have to go back and reread the page to realise what had happened. The sudden change in time perspective threw me for a loop and it took a little while for me to understand where it had gone and what was happening.

In my opinion, I think the hype surrounding this book is justified. It portrayed exactly what it said it would in the blurb and it’s a book that can be easily read and easily gripping.

I got into this book very quickly. By chapter three I was fully invested in what I was reading and eager to work my way through the book. Compelling, intriguing, gripping, and the words I’d use to describe this and I suppose those are quite generic words and ones I used a lot. I really enjoyed the story and the natural flow of the two narratives, I felt they complimented each other well but also had their own voices which were very present throughout the read. I feel lighter for unearthing the truth of Alicia’s story and for seeing the reveal through to the end. I thought about this book for a whole morning after I read it, wondering if I could have caught the reveal sooner but also wondering about the people who live near me and what is really going on behind closed doors. This book is just shy of a 5 star rating, purely because of the confusion I felt over the reveal, it could have been done in a smoother transition.

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