The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Book Summary)

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Alicia Berenson is currently a patient at the Grove. She used to be a famous painter and was married to Gabriel. It used to be a perfect life – but then she shot her husband. A neighbor called the police, and when they arrived, they found Gabriel’s dead body, and beside him was Alicia, who appeared to be in shock. Since that night, Alicia never said anything. She was put into trial and later on became a patient at the Grove.

Theo Faber is a psychotherapist who applied at the Grove for the primary purpose of helping Alicia recover. He believes he is capable of helping her. Theo was later on given a chance to have Alicia under his care. He requested for Alicia’s dosage to be lowered down. He allowed Alicia to start painting again, in which she painted herself and Theo, escaping the burning building of the Grove. Her painting sessions were stopped when Alicia stabbed the eye of another patient using a paintbrush. She stabbed him because she was provoked. The other patient teased him about being with Theo.

Aside from their sessions, Theo also started visiting friends and relatives of Alicia. He called Max Berenson, a lawyer, who is also Alicia’s brother-in-law. He told Theo that he didn’t like Alicia. The truth is, Max has feelings for Alicia, and he has already attempted to express this to her – Alicia rejected him.

Theo also visited John Felix, an old friend of Alicia. He owns the gallery where Alicia’s paintings are displayed. In Alicia’s diary, she mentioned that she had planned to look for another gallery to display her paintings.

Theo also visited Paul, Alicia’s cousin. In the diary, it mentions Paul borrowing money from her. During that visit, Paul showed Theo how Alicia’s father killed her. It was after Alicia’s mother’s death, and her father was grieving. Her father told her that he wished it was Alicia who died instead of her mother. Alicia told Paul that what her father said killed her — for some reason, this made so much sense to Theo.

The Grove is close to being shut down. Since there is already an incident of Alicia’s violence, Theo’s sessions with her became limited. During one of their sessions, Alicia handed Theo her diary. She hasn’t said a word yet. They read the journal and discovered that Alicia has already been a patient of Christian West – a therapist at the Grove who has been medicating Alicia. Christian didn’t testify for Alicia. He already believes that she is mad. He is friends with Gabriel. Gabriel just wants Alicia to see a therapist because she insisted that a man kept spying on her – he thought Alicia was going insane.

After a few sessions, Theo revealed to Alicia that it could be his last chance to help her if he didn’t show any progress. Finally, in a meager voice and slow manner, Alicia spoke again. Because of this progress, Theo has been allowed to keep on seeing Alicia. This breakthrough could save the Grove from being closed down. There were already a few more sessions where Theo and Alicia talked, and when she finally decided to tell her story about the night Gabriel died:

Someone has constantly been standing outside their house, looking at her. She told Gabriel about this, but instead, he advised that she see a therapist. One night, Gabriel called her and informed them that he would be home by 8. The photoshoot was taking long. That night she heard someone getting in when he turned around, he saw a man in a mask. She doesn’t see his face. She doesn’t know who he is. He tied her up, and they waited for Gabriel to arrive. He arrived at around 11PM. The masked man shot Gabriel, killed him, and walked away.

Theo listened. However, he knew Alicia was not telling the truth. Alicia mentioned that she didn’t see the man’s face, but Theo knew that wasn’t true – because he was that man.

The next day, something happened to Alicia. She was in a coma because of a drug overdose. There was a bottle of pills on the floor. They first blamed the guard, who was not that mindful of making sure the medicine cabinet was closed, but then Theo blamed someone else – Christian. Theo claimed that Christian lied about what he saw. The bottle of the pill was staged, and instead, Alicia was really injected with Morphine. With the help of Theo’s story about Christian treating Alicia before the murder and then not declaring it – Christian got arrested.

Because of what happened to Alicia, the trust decided to close down the Grove. Dmitri had an early retirement, and his position is now vacant. One of the trust’s representatives informed that they will build a new and better one after the Grove is closed – they would like Theo to manage it. Theo accepted. He thinks that everything is going well perfectly. Little did he know that Alicia left something that would incriminate him.

The natural suspect here is Theo, although he didn’t kill Gabriel. Here’s the story:

Theo married Catherine and is so in love with her. He found out one night, while he was smoking weed, that Cathy was cheating on him. He was able to read her emails. He didn’t confront Cathy about this, but instead, he followed the guy to his home. He wanted revenge. He didn’t do something yet. He simply observed his house. He noticed the man’s wife. At that time, Theo felt like the right thing to do was to help the woman – somehow let her know that she married a cheater, someone who doesn’t deserve her. The cheating husband is Gabriel, and Theo wants to help his innocent wife is Alicia. Theo was the man Alicia was referring to as the one spying on her, and when she told Gabriel about this, he had asked her to talk to a shrink. The night Theo went inside the house, he didn’t kill Gabriel – he just provoked them. Theo made them choose which one of them should die, and to Alicia’s horror, Gabriel saved himself. Theo didn’t pull the trigger. He just walked out because he was able to reveal the truth about Gabriel’s infidelity and was also able to show Alicia how selfish her husband is. When Theo left, Alicia was so hurt that she shot Gabriel multiple times. Being chosen to be the one to die has a deep meaning to Alicia because her father did this to her first – he told her how she wished Alicia should die instead of her mother.

This was not what Theo expected, but he never told anyone about this. He didn’t even confront Catherine about the affair he discovered. Even after Gabriel was already gone, Theo and Cathy’s marriage wasn’t repaired. They stayed together, but it is evident that Cathy is not happy.

In the end, Theo got arrested. When Theo injected Morphine into Alicia, she could still write down hastily the truth about what Theo did. She hid the diary at the back of the painting, and it was James Felix saw it.

The End of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.

Purchase The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides via Amazon:

Published by

Forever Winter

Just reading and writing my way out of this messy adult life! I have transitioned from having piles of notebooks stacked underneath my bed from writing on the internet and allowing people worldwide to read.

One thought on “The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Book Summary)”

  1. What a big mess! It is a interesting theme that the true villain is a person in a position of power over the character. A person of good standing in society. Thank you for your review

    Liked by 1 person

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