With all the TikTok, Goodreads, and in-person recommendations I got for this book, I thought I was prepared for this psychological thriller, but when I tell you to expect the unexpected I mean it. I went into this book knowing there would be a plot twist at some point, yet I was still blown away when it appeared. I’m not sure if I’m shallow or just haven’t read enough thrillers, but to say I had no idea it was coming is an understatement.
Anyway, before I tell you literally everything, I’ll give you a little overview of the book.
A majority of “The Silent Patient” is set in a psychiatric unit called The Grove that is dedicated to helping the troubled minds that inhabit it. The story focuses on a specific patient, Alicia Berenson, who, after murdering her husband, goes silent and doesn’t speak a word. We follow her psychotherapist, Theo Faber, as he tries to figure out what keeps Alicia from talking and ends up uncovering a lot more.
Elements Michaelides did well
This book carries some of the greatest character development and analysis due to its topic of mental health and different peoples’ struggles with it. Although the characters didn’t become better people as the story went on, I did come to a deeper understanding of how their minds worked through learning about their backgrounds and putting together different pieces of information.
As Theo began to understand Alicia more, not only did Theo start to learn about Alicia but also himself and their shared experiences. I was able to identify how the therapist began to be the patient which created an unhealthy dynamic between the two as an exchange of personal information became more and more serious. Overall, Michaelides did a great job with the characters of Theo and Alicia but also a few of the side characters as well.
Another thing I loved about this book was its ability to keep me on my toes at all times. I will admit that after the introduction of characters and setting the book did get a little slow, but about a third of the way through, I couldn’t put the book down.
As Theo began to put more clues together and uncover pieces of the puzzle, I found myself looking into things more and immersing myself in the book. The plot development of this book was fantastic and had me questioning myself and all my theories!
Now finally, my favorite part of the entire thing was the plot twist at the end. I can admit that I am not the best detective, so this twist came out of nowhere. This was one of my first psychological thrillers, and it didn’t disappoint. I questioned myself at every turn, so when I finally reached the grand finale, I had no idea what to expect. Instead of putting a major spoiler here, I’ll leave it at that and allow you to figure it out on your own.
Elements that could improve
The only thing I would say could be improved is to have a little variety in the side characters. Although most of them didn’t contribute to the story, I am still a reader who loves to have the entire story told to me through the characters, so when characters were given two lines and not developed well enough as to who they were, I found myself losing interest.
I love when authors put a lot of detail into even the smallest things. With that, I found a lot of the characters to be redundant without much variety in personality. Although this made for a good confusion tactic for figuring out the ending, it also held Michaelides from telling more of the story through other characters.
With every twist and turn, this book had me on the edge of my seat. Whether it be the exploration of the characters’ minds or the great plot development, I found this book to be a 4/5 read. I have a hard time giving books that 5/5 rating unless there isn’t a single thing I would change but because of my one complaint, I have to keep it at a 4.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a mystery and a reason to waste a day curled up with coffee and an intriguing read!