The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

Book Review: "The Silent Patient" by Alex Michaelides

Madeleine Ouellette

Posted on August 2, 2020 14:44

2 users

This book is a suspenseful, psychological thriller, that lacks even a hint of good writing.

I was excited to read "The Silent Patient" when it first came out in early 2019. It was a New York Times bestseller, so of course, I couldn’t get it at the library. It won awards on the Goodreads website and, after doing a quick scan of reviews, it seems like it received a mostly positive response.

The story is about a woman who one day, seemingly out of the blue, kills her husband. She never speaks again after this and is dubbed "the silent patient." She is found criminally insane and is sent to live in a psychiatric facility.

The narrator is a therapist who is fascinated by the murder and the woman who committed it. He finds out where she was sent and proceeds to get a job at that facility, in hopes that he can be the one to make her finally speak again.

While there is a satisfying twist at the end that I did not predict, I could not get past the horrible, predictable writing. Throughout the book, I had to stop and re-read a sentence, in total disbelief at either the stupidity of the main character or the terrible sentence construction.

The narrator, a therapist who I would assume has a high level of education, would ask questions as if he did not understand anything at all. At one point, the patient hands him her journal, and he says something along the lines of, "What do you want me to do with this?" Meanwhile, I’m reading this saying to myself, SHE WANTS YOU TO READ IT, YOU MORON.

These types of situations happened throughout the book leading me to wonder if the twist was going to be that this narrator wasn’t actually a therapist and instead a man who hadn’t even completed elementary school.

There were also many instances that therapists and psychiatrists working in this facility would say awful things about their own patients. I only have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, so I’m definitely not an expert in the field, but every single psychology professor that I encountered was extremely empathetic, kind, and genuinely cared about their patients and students. It seemed incongruous that professional therapists would call their patient a "bitch."

While I understand that working at a facility like that is probably extremely stressful and can take an intense toll on the healthcare professionals, I just don’t think it’s realistic that such unpleasant people would be mental health professionals.

All in all, the twist ending did not make up for the bad writing and unlikable characters. Despite the mountain of praise that it received, I think you should skip it!

Madeleine Ouellette

Posted on August 2, 2020 14:44

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: NYT

A graphic review of “Silent Spring,” the book that helped launch the environmental movement.

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest