Hi friends! I’m so excited to share my thoughts on a book that was very popular last year in the thriller community, so I decided to pick it up while I was at the beach*! And I actually have thoughts! Now whether or not they’re coherent is a different matter hehe.
*i listened to two audiobooks in four days there???? is there a way to capture a piece of the beach and bring it home because that is near impossible for me
TW/CW: abuse, cheating, violence/murder, slight creepiness factor
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…
this is very psychological.
We have several psychotherapists, and there’s a lot of emphasis on conversations and relationship dynamics. This isn’t pulse-pounding, but it is very intriguing. Basically, go in with expectations of a slowly unfolding plot and a rather character driven novel.
OKAY. LOOK. I am a picky thriller/mystery reader. Like, even if I tell my brain to shut up it’s literally on high gears the entire book. Plus, I’m a huge true crime junkie so there’s not much that’s really out of the box when it comes to fiction??? Which is so annoying??? But in this case, while my brain did contemplate the big plot twist as a possibility, I was still semi-shocked. That shock only grew throughout the rest of the book, and as I looked back on the events that took on a whole new meaning. Bravo to Mr. Michaelides for this, because…wow.
let’s talk about the format and characters real quick.
The format of this was absolute perfection. We have Theo’s perspective as he talks to Alicia in real time, while dealing with personal issues at home, and then we have Alicia’s diary entries leading up to the murder. There’s another layer to this but you don’t realize it until the end. Personally, I really loved this contrast, especially since there were times I was getting impatient to figure out what was happening.
These characters. Everyone was fine. Theo’s perspective was fine. My biggest qualm, however, is how the women were treated. The only one that wasn’t a complete bore or deemed as “a hindrance to the plot” was Alicia. Who, by the way, doesn’t speak. It’s not necessarily “women hating” but it is disappointing.
So. I liked the twist, and how it changes your view of the book like any good plot twist is supposed to do. In fact, I daresay it was brilliantly done. However, the entire novelty of this book revolves around that one plot twist. I didn’t mind it really, I enjoyed the ride, but this is definitely not for everyone on that aspect alone.
That’s about it! Tell me if you’ve read this book!