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Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

March 13, 2019
The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Celadon on February 5, 2019
Format Read: ARC Edition (326)
Genre: Psychological Thriller/ Mystery/ Adult Fiction
Series: Stand Alone
Source: From Publisher for Review Consideration
Rating:FOUR STARS
The Silent Patient~Amazon~ Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him....

VERDICT:

Content Warning: Mental Illness, Graphic Violence

REVIEW:

I could not stop reading this book, I desperately wanted to know what happened next. The book alternates between Theo Faber, Alicia's therapist, and Alicia's diary which was written in the months before the murder. The opening chapters describe a disturbing final painting that Alicia completes after the murder and I was hooked immediately. Theo's psychological analysis throughout the book was insightful and refreshing. It added further suspense and intrigue to the disturbing details of this violent murder.
I was crying for all of us. There's so much pain everywhere , and we just close our eyes to it. The truth is we're all scared. We're terrified of each other.
There was a number of violent and disturbing behavior described as the mystery unfolds. I can usually predict twists, but I wasn't able to see past cleverly placed details. I appreciated the diversity of the side characters, although many of them were underdeveloped.The book interweaves  the details of a Greek tragedy that I was unfamiliar with. This mix of mythology, psychology, and mystery flowed perfectly together. There were small reveals throughout the book, but the ultimate reveal still surprised me. I would recommend this to all readers looking for a thriller with good character development and insight.

Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy suspense and plot twists
- appreciate psychological analysis
- don't mind gory descriptions of violence

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Michaelides
Born in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot father and English mother, I studied English literature at Cambridge University and got my MA in screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. I wrote the film The Devil You Know (2013) starring Rosamund Pike and co-wrote The Con is On (2018), starring Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey and Sofia Vergara. THE SILENT PATIENT is my first novel.
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Review: The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

The Girls at 17 Swann Street, Yara Zgheib, InToriLex, Book Review
Published By: St Martin's Press on February 5, 2019
Format Read: ARC Edition (413 pages)
Genre: Contemporary/ Mental Health/ Adult Fiction
Series: Stand Alone
Source: From Publisher for Review Consideration
Rating: FIVE STARS
The Girls at 17 Swann Street~Amazon~ Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.
Yara Zgheib's poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting, intimate journey of a young woman's struggle to reclaim her life. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

VERDICT:

Content Warning: Mental Illness, Rape, Eating Disorders, Suicide

REVIEW:

This is not an easy story, but it is beautifully told and brutally honest. It follows Anna as she confronts her anorexia and seeks treatment. Her thought's, actions and memories are all sewn together to describe how she tries to mend the relationships in her life and challenge her disordered thoughts. An engrossing page turner I managed to fly through this in one day. The way the author describes the women at the treatment facility with Anna made me more invested in whether the women would succeed or succumb to their illnesses. The use of Anna's doctor's notes in the novel helped me understand how dire Anna's health was all while she internally struggled to understand the danger.
I am not anorexic, I am out of control. I know it but I cannot stop. I am a child in a body that grew up too soon , found adulthood and real life a scam and now is trying to lose enough weight to lift off the ground, fly away.
Throughout the novel Anna must navigate why she developed a eating disorder and confront traumatic events she has tried to suppress for years. This book describes the eating disorders compassionately and with sensitivity. The camaraderie in the treatment facility was astonishing because most of these women very defensive and vulnerable. The serious topics and  traumatic experiences were hard to digest but shed light on important issues our society glazes over.

The plot flowed seamlessly between flashbacks and dialogue. I really enjoyed how authentic this fictional account read. The awful media messages women receive about how to constantly make themselves better contribute to body dysmorphia and low self-esteem. I would recommend this to reader's who want more insight about how women deal with eating disorders.

Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy reading contemporaries on serious topics
- appreciate poetic descriptions
- want to learn more about women who face eating disorders

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yara Zgheib
Yara Zgheib is a Fulbright scholar with a Masters degree in Security Studies from Georgetown University and a PhD in International Affairs in Diplomacy from Centre D'études Diplomatiques et Stratégiques in Paris. She is fluent in English, Arabic, French, and Spanish. Yara is a writer for several US and European magazines, including The Huffington Post, The Four Seasons Magazine, A Woman’s Paris, The Idea List, and Holiday Magazine. She writes on culture, art, travel, and philosophy on her blog, "Aristotle at Afternoon Tea"
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