Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….
If you recall, in the movie “The Sixth Sense,” we’re hit with a powerful twist right at the end. (As we have a strict “no spoiler policy” on the blog, I’ll refrain from saying what that twist is.)
Part of what made it so powerful is that all the clues were there the whole time. It was our assumptions that blinded us to what had been right in front of us throughout the story.
We assumed the movie was unfolding a certain way; therefore, we disregarded all the things that pointed to a different truth.
I wish I could say the same for the twist in The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
On the one hand, it was a very well-written book with great, well-developed characters. I love a book about a good obsession, and Theo’s obsession of Alicia is extremely compelling.
On the other hand …
While I liked the twist and how the story turned out, what I didn’t like was that there was really no way we could have figured it out. This wasn’t a case of our assumptions blinding us to obvious clues. This was more like the deck had been stacked against us.
And, at least for me, it leaves me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth—like I was tricked.
Anyway, I know The Silent Patient is all the rage right now, which is why I wanted to read it. If Alex Michaelides had worked the twist into the book in a similar way to “The Sixth Sense,” this one would have hit a home run for me.
As it is, I would probably give it 3.5 stars.My take on The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a little different than everyone else. My full book review here. Click To Tweet
Check out The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides on Amazon