Saturday, 14 March 2020

The Silent Patient. (Mindscape Reviews)

Hi Readers! As you know, I was in a terrible phase reading bad book after bad book. It’s even worse than being in a reading slump, to be honest! But, then I read All the Light We Cannot See, which was the single most amazing piece of literature. It made me feel so amazing & I felt a lot of feelings while reading it! If there comes a day, when I am not still overwhelmed by the book, then at that time maybe I could review it! Not any time soon!

So, after reading that one, I started reading ‘The Silent Patient’ because it was shorter & a different genre altogether. I legit completed it in 3 week days! I mention week days specifically here, because if I had started it on a Saturday, I’d have completed it on the same day! Here goes its review.

The Silent Patient is a psychological thriller & actually a debut novel by Alex Michaelides. It won the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Mystery & Thriller. It’s the dark & twisted story of a woman named Alicia Berenson. After many years of happy marriage, one day she shoots her husband in the head five times & then never speaks a word again. Alicia is our silent patient.
The novel has 3 parallel stories. One is by Alicia which is in the form of her diary from a couple of months prior leading to the day of murder. Second is the part of Theo Faber, the psychotherapist who treats Alicia. He is also the narrator of it all. Third part is Theo’s personal life.

When you read a novel like this where a lot is happening, you always find a three dimensional perspective towards the characters. Like, how Alicia sees herself when she’s writing her diary, as against what everyone close to her thinks of her, as against how Theo sees her. So, you never really know which is the real Alicia until the end. I think that’s what made it a real page-turner. So, common thing between all the perspectives is that Alicia is a painter. She loved her husband Gabriel who was a fashion photographer. She has a history of mental illness which originated when her mother dies in a car accident in which car Alicia was also there & followed by her father’s suicide. So, all in all, her childhood was quite messed up and yet not a good enough foundation for why she would kill her husband one day.

As for Theo Faber, there is one part of the story where he treats Alicia. In this part, he seems really determined like it’s a mission for him to get her to speak. His life at The Grove where Alicia is a patient is something so ordinarily ‘work’ and yet it turns into something else entirely. I felt that he was acting less as a psychotherapist and more of a detective. So, the point of it being a psychological thriller is pretty much missed. As for his personal life, he has a wife named Kathryn or Kathy. It starts off with how cute their love story began but it ends on an entirely different note as well. In such a novel, when there are such unnecessary love stories mentioned, it bugs me, but I have come to learn that these exist for an important reason. And, I was right about that. This is in no way a spoiler for seasoned readers, so please!

While reading it, you will always wonder about things.
Will she speak again?
Can Theo make her talk?
Was she in fact guilty or innocent?

I cannot give out any spoilers on this one, so I’m skipping the ‘Story Line’ part. Overall, I found the novel to be a bit overrated. It was unpredictable, yes, but given its hype, I was honestly expecting more! There are a lot of similarities that are mentioned between Theo & Alicia. And I don’t mean just about their childhood, their marriage. It’s more about these random incidents early on in the story. But, that never went anywhere. That I thought were some lose ends.
Also, Theo tends to pile up all of everyone’s fucked up issues to their childhood. I mean, is that all there is to psychotherapy? Unresolved childhood problems? Because of this, it didn’t quite touch on the psychotherapy aspect in depth, or at all.

Having said all this, I think it was a good debut novel. Even though there were some obvious misses, I have rated it at 3.5/5. The thing I liked was how it is an unputdownable book. But after reading at a stretch for so long, the much-awaited twist wasn’t as good as I had hoped. Anyway, I enjoyed reading most of it. By reading this novel I have now ticked the ‘A Debut Novel’ category form my 2020 Reading Challenge!

Now I have started reading Haruki Murakami’s ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles’! I will keep you posted on the progress!
Until next time,

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