The Silent Patient by Alexis Michaelides

4.5 Stars.

I have read my share of psychological thrillers. I don’t typically enjoy them because almost every single time, I get tired of the main character. A lot of times they are stupid and they miss the most obvious things like Cass in ” The Breakdown”. Second, the repetitions. I find lot of fillers in psychological thrillers. Less content and full of fillers. For example, in ” The woman in the window” by A.J. Finn, If we removed the sentences where Anna Faux drank her merlot, we could cut down 200 pages.

I started this one with similar expectation and I was so wrong. The main character, Theo was really intelligent and the plot was so interesting with almost no fillers and I savoured it in one day. It was interesting especially because it relates to the play ” Alcestis” ( probably the inspiration for this book).

Alicia Berensen, a famous painter shoots her husband Gabriel five times in the face and never speaks another word. Even in the trail she fails to defend herself and she is admitted to psychiatric facility ” Grove”.Theo Faber, a psychotherapist who is so amused by this case and is determined to make Alicia talk. As Theo finds a job at Grove, he starts to explore Alicia’s past. Slowly events unfold and we finally find out what made Alicia pull the trigger or did she?

The book was beautifully written and I felt I was travelling alongside Theo. Throughout the book, there were lots of references to psychology and I typically enjoyed them. In a lot of places, it talks about how important a childhood is in a person’s life. I am probably gonna remember lots of quotes from this book.

“Sometimes it’s hard to grasp why it is that the answers to the present lie in the past. A simple analogy might be helpful: a leading psychiatrist in the field of sexual abuse once told me she had, in thirty years of extensive work with paedophiles, never met one who hadn’t himself been abused as a child. This doesn’t mean that all abused children go on to become abusers; but it is impossible for someone who was not abused to become an abuser. No one is born evil. As Winnicott put it: ‘A baby cannot hate the mother, without the mother first hating the baby.’ As babies, we are innocent sponges, blank slates – with only the most basic needs present: to eat, shit, love and be loved. But something goes wrong, depending on the circumstances into which we are born, and the house in which we grow up. A tormented, abused child can never take revenge in reality, as she is powerless and defenceless, but she can – and must – harbour vengeful fantasies in her imagination. Rage, like fear, is reactive in nature.”

For someone who has read a lot of thrillers, I was able to guess the ending but that did not stop me from enjoying the book at all. I totally recommend this book for anyone who would like to read a psychological thriller with a very good plot.

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