The Insane Book to Start 2022 Off Right
A story about insane asylum patients, family trauma, ultimate betrayal, and a splash of Greek tragedy added to the mix. January’s Book of the Month is Alex Michaelides’ “The Silent Patient“.
The Spoiler-Free Synopsis
Theo Faber is a psychotherapist who just landed his dream job at The Grove, a mental hospital where the infamous Alicia Berenson is being treated. Alicia is known in the news as the woman who senselessly shot her husband multiple times in the face with no explanation, other than the fact that she had a history of mental delusions.
Years after meticulously following Alicia’s trial, Theo believes he needs to bring her under his care as he may be the only one to save her. Once he gets to The Grove, he discovers Alicia hasn’t spoken a word in years. Theo convinces the director to let him treat Alicia to get her speaking again.
Once treatment starts, Theo becomes obsessed with getting to the bottom of why Alicia won’t speak…and what she’s holding back. His life becomes consumed with treating Alicia and figuring out why this seemingly innocent painter decided to shoot her husband dead one day.
Wow. Just…wow. This book took me a surprisingly long time to read because it’s such a slow-burner (which as you probably know by now, I don’t like). But let me tell you, the wait was worth it. You have to wait until the very end to find out the truths you’ve been waiting for, but once everything is revealed it will leave you questioning EVERYTHING. My mouth dropped at the ending and I had to reread it multiple times to wrap my head around everything that was revealed.
In typical Alex Michaelides fashion, there is a sprinkle of Greek myth mixed in, just like in “The Maidens” (you can read that review here!). In this case, it’s the tragedy of Alcestis, a woman who loved her husband so much that she took her husbands place in death and came back to life. The parallels between the Greek Myths and Michaelides’s plots is a great twist on what would otherwise be a regular ol’ best-selling thriller.
What Critics Say
“An unforgettable―and Hollywood-bound―new thriller… A mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy.”
“That rarest of beasts: the perfect thriller. This extraordinary novel set my blood fizzing- I quite literally couldn’t put it down. I told myself I’d just dip in; eleven hours later – it’s now 5:47 a.m. – I’ve finished it, absolutely dazzled.”
“Destined to go down as one of the most shocking, mind-blowing twists in recent memory.”
What do you guys think about The Silent Patient? Is this next on your reading list? Let me know what you think in the comments below! 📚