Book review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michealides

Alicia, who adored her husband with all her might, shot him in the face five times and never spoke again. She was committed to a mental institution, The Grove, and stayed there for years. Theo, a psychotherapist, has always been fascinated with the crime, but mostly, by her silence. When the opportunity comes to work at The Grove, he jumps at it. Through sheer obstinacy, he will convince his supervisor and peers to let them treat her. Then, the dance begins. But curing Alicia will make him confront his own history of mental illness and troubled past.

This is a riveting tale. A book that will keep you up into the night. The way that the author narrates the story is a key to its success. The story alternates between Alicia’s diary, and Theo’s telling of his treatment of Alicia, as well as his childhood traumas and marital conflicts. So, the book goes back and forward between a distant past, the days before the murders and present day, years after Alicia’s silence started. This keeps the reader both entertained, and in suspense of what the end will bring.

The author draws hints here and there to keep the reader speculating on what could have led to Alicia’s violent outburst and silence, keeping you on your toes.

It is light summer read, and a great book to take with you to the pool and unplug.

Author: Carla Hafez

Reader of mostly literary fiction and own-voices fiction. Latina. Feminist. Amateur reviewer. Opinionated. Unapologetically progressive. Mom. Wife. Believer.

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