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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Book Review

Reasons For Reading This Book:

I had seen that The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelidas was a popular read right now (September/October 2022) on social media. I really had no interest in reading it until my mom brought it home from the library. She had read it years ago and remembered liking it but didn't remember the ending so she reread it. When she finished it I started it. I started one because of convenience, two because I was in between reading books on my list, and three because I wanted to see if it lived up to the praise that my mom and others were saying about it. My mom really enjoyed it and couldn't wait until I finished so we could talk about it. I read most of it at my regular pace and then woke up super early one morning to finish it as I was leaving the state for an extended work trip and would not be back when it was due back to the library. My mom was very excited to talk to me about it as she drove me to the airport. 

Content of the Book:

Alicia Brenderson is the wife accused of shooting her husband five times in the face and Theo Faber is the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive and her side of the story. After the murder Alicia has not spoken a word. Gabriel and Alicia has a seemingly perfect marriage and life with successful careers and a beautiful home. Alicia's actions that night changed everything. Her story was picked up by the tabloids and everyone has a theory and interest in her. Hidden away in a facility in North London, an ambitious physiotherapist sets out to learn of her motive and get her to speak. Told from the point of view of Theo and Alicia's journal entries their secrets and motives are unveiled in a compelling and consuming thriller. 

What I Liked About the Book:

It had most of the anticipated elements of a psychological thriller that most readers expect from a book in this genre. There was suspense, drama, secrets, lies, mental breakdowns, violence, and creepiness. I liked the journal entries by Alicia. With all psychological thrillers that have journal entries I have learned to be apprehensive about trusting them, as I have had that portion of the narration be false in other books I have read. Even though I very much enjoyed learning her story from her point of view, I still held my breath about fully believing her and what she was saying. With all psychological thrillers you expect that the author can write in a way that will keep you wanting more and this urgency to finish so you can learn the ending. I did feel some sense of urgency but it was more because I was on a time crunch. Once I did feel this urgency I was already pulled in deep to the book so it was easy to finish most of it in one sitting. If you like having a book that consumes your thoughts then take it slow, but if not I recommend reading it quickly like how my mom and I did. I am also a fan of short chapters for certain types of books. For this book in particular I liked that the chapters were short in length but at times did roll nicely into the next. When it comes to how the author decided to reveal information to the reader, I think he did a really good job. The story progressed steadily from start to finish. Of course there were parts that lagged and other parts that were sped up, but overall there was substance from beginning to end. 

What I Disliked About the Book:

Theo. Simply put Theo really irritated me and put a bad taste in my mouth. I thought he was self-centered. I could tell from the beginning that everything he did was for an agenda that benefited him. As a narrator he really annoyed me. As someone who no longer has as strong of a stomach as they used to, some of the graphic and gory descriptions truly grossed me out and made me sick to my stomach. To some the level of gory could be what they want in a psychological thriller, but for me its not my favorite part. Something that came to my attention when listening to The Toast, is that I do not read a lot of books by male authors or books with a male narrator. This is not intentional but clearly I do have some sort of preference on this matter. I also agreed with what Jackie and Claudia said about not liking when male authors write from the perspective of a female. I think Alex did as good of a job as he could writing from a women's point of view and being a man. Even though in the liked section I mentioned that the plot progressed at a good pace in the book I did dislike that there was some repetition. There were many repeated scenes of Alicia being stalked. To me it felt like the author hyper fixated on this aspect of the plot when it turns out to be not that substantial in the end. It was repetitive and I got tired of reading about it. Unlike my mom I was not as surprised at the ending as she was. This could be because I figured out some parts of the plot earlier on by being confused and not actually trying to figure it out. It could also be because I have become desensitized to the plot points of psychological thrillers after watching and reading so many. Overall I was not super impressed with the ending. 

Would I Recommend This Book:

In all honesty it was a good September/October read, but I do not think it lived up to the praise that I was seeing about how good it was on social media and from my mom. I have liked other psychological thrillers a lot more. Overall I would not recommend this book as I feel there are way better psychological thrillers out there.

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