This month’s Book of the Month pick is a bit different than my usual choices. For this month, I picked The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
Alicia Berenson has been silent – ever since she shot her husband in the face six times. Instead of life in prison, she is sentenced to a life at the Grove mental health facility. Berenson, an artist with a history of mental illness, uses a diary as her only outlet of relief.
That is until Theo comes into the picture.
Theo, the new psychotherapist at the Grove, has been following the case closely – to the point where it is borderline obsession. He soon plays detective to help figure out how Alicia ticks, and soon learns more about that night that leaves readers wowed.
So, where do I begin? I read this book last week while I was sick and read it in a day. However, even if I wasn’t sick, I’m pretty sure that I still would not have put this book down. The book kept me hooked from page one to the very last page.
However, I did have some questions about the book. For a while, I did question Theo’s motive to getting so involved with Alicia. As I mentioned earlier, it was pretty much on the border of obsession. He followed the case when it first happened. He pretty much worked at the Grove just to help her. Was he a huge fan of her work? He seemed to want to help her, but the motive was still left uncertain. And, the fact that he was willing to jeopardize his job just to get information about the patient was a little weird to me as well.
Furthermore, Theo was a character that had motives. He learns at the beginning of the book that his wife was unfaithful to him. For a while (to the end actually), I was wondering why there was such a heavy focus on it. However, once you read Alicia’s final entry, you gain the answers to everything. And, trust me. It’s more than just a doctor and patient kind of thing.
Finally, I wondered why Theo didn’t end up getting fired for consistently breaking the rules. I’m no therapist, however, I do know that he broke several different ethical laws. While reading the book, I often wondered why no one at the place noticed that he was doing this. And, when you read the book, you pretty much only hear about his work with Alicia. Why wasn’t he with other patients? To me, that wasn’t as realistic, because if you’re a psychotherapist at a mental health facility, then you’re going to see all of the patients – not just one.
Yes, I had a lot of questions with this one. However, don’t let the questions steer you from this – I absolutely loved this novel. I’m hoping that Michaelides writes more, because I’m pretty much obsessed with his debut.
So, with that being said, I highly recommend that you read this book when it comes out in February.