Savoring Silence: A Spooky October Review of Alex Michaelides’ The Silent Patient

October, 2023
Raya Kondakindi

The paintbrush brushes the canvas as lightly and familiarly as the hug between two reunited friends. The smell of paint wafts through the air, your mind, never silent, focused on the project at hand. The door creaks open, and the sound of heavy footsteps echo across the old floors. A voice announced, “Honey, I’m home!” but unlike Frozone from the Incredibles, he is not looking for his super suit.

Alicia Berenson is a woman who seemed to be leading a successful and empowering life as a famous artist with her loving husband by her side. All seemed well and normal in Alicia’s life until, suddenly, a night after her husband, Gabriel, returned home from work, Alicia shoots her husband five times in his face and then refuses to speak again, leaving the audience in suspense as to why. “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides takes place several years later, allowing the readers to witness the infamy that Alice gained due to her actions, becoming the talk of the town, especially amongst psychiatrists. A criminal psychotherapist, Theo Faber, enraptured by Alicia’s story, seized the opportunity to work with her. Through therapy sessions, Theo worked to coerce Alicia to speak once more, forever changing the trajectory of both their lives.

Michaelides encapsulates the eeriness that comes in autumn, the spookiest season of the year, through the emotions and mystery that come with each flip of the page in his famed psychological thriller. His words and suspenseful writing style offer a rush of adrenaline, inviting you to turn the page.

This book should be recommended to anyone seeking a brilliant psychological thriller to cozy up by during this chilly season. Whether you are an avid reader ready for this Rory Gilmore-esque season or someone who wants to get into reading, this book is a perfect introduction to thrillers. The fast-moving, constantly-thickening plot weaves a web of inquisition that only gradually unravels, slowly unveiling parts of Alicia’s past through her suspenseful diary entries. The skillfully written novel has swept up book lovers all over social media, having them second guessing themselves from cover to cover.

The greatest takeaway from this can’t-put-down novel is how Michaelides is able to thoughtfully delve into the human mind and psychosis through the recounting of traumatic events. The line between sanity and madness is especially blurry during the book’s grand finale within its final few chapters. Naturally, after closing this book’s back cover, one can only be left with awe as an unforgettable story of plot twists and shocking events lingers in their mind, completely challenging their own perception of emotions within the human psyche.