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Find 29 best book club questions and snack ideas for The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.
The twisty psychological thriller follows famous painter Alicia Berenson and her act of violence against her husband—and Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist determined to find the motive behind the crime.
So delve into captivating book club questions and tasty snack ideas that pair well with The Silent Patient.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides Summary
- Goodreads Choice AwardWinner for Best Mystery & Thriller (2019)
- Nominee for Best Debut Novel (2019)
- The Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller
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.
29 The Silent Patient Book Club Questions
- What was your initial impression of Alicia Berenson? Did your opinion of her change throughout the book? Why or why not?
- How did you find the dual narrative perspectives of The Silent Patient? Has it helped your understanding of the plot and the characters? Have you thought about any other character/s perspectives that might have been worth including?
- What did you think about Alicia’s diary notes? Do you feel empathetic towards her? Did you find her voice to be reliable or unreliable?
- Discuss the circumstances or events that caused Alicia to withdraw from verbal communication or reject speaking. How would you interpret her actions if she was your friend?
- How did you feel about Theo as Alicia’s psychotherapist? Did you think he could eventually get her to speak?
- The Silent Patient is described as a psychological thriller. What elements of the story created suspense and kept you engaged? Were there any particular twists or turns that shocked you?
- Discuss the theme of silence in The Silent Patient How does Alicia’s silence impact the plot?
- Theo Faber wanted to help Alicia, despite the initial struggles. What do you think motivates him to go to such lengths? Did you find his actions ethical?
- The Silent Patient explores the idea of perception versus reality. How did this theme manifest throughout the story and characters?
- Discuss the relationship between Alicia and Gabriel. Did Alicia have a good reason to kill Gabriel?
- How do you perceive the themes of mental health and trauma in The Silent Patient. Do you think Alex Michaelides has realistically portrayed mental illness in the story?
- Discuss Alicia’s statement that her father and Gabriel “killed” her. Why do you think Alicia often uses metaphorical language to express herself?
- Can you draw any comparisons between Theo and Alicia’s personalities, motivations, or journeys? Do you think Theo and Alicia were the two sides of the same coin?
- How do you think the psychiatric setting contributes to the overall atmosphere of the book? Did it enhance or hinder your understanding of the characters and their motivations?
- Discuss the relevance of the title of the book, The Silent Patient.
- Alicia Berenson is an artist. Do you think her passion for art contributes to the plot? Did you find any symbolic meanings in her artwork?
- Discuss the role of unreliable narration in the book. How did it affect your reading experience and perception of the characters?
- The Silent Patient incorporates Greek mythology references, particularly the story of Alcestis. How does this add depth to the narrative?
- Discuss The power dynamics between therapists and patients in The Silent Patient.
- The themes of obsession and love are very prominent in The Silent Patient. Discuss the different forms of obsession portrayed in the book.
- The Silent Patient is a thriller that keeps readers guessing until the end. Were you able to guess any major plot twists?
- Consider the role of secondary characters, such as Max Berenson or Jean-Felix Martin in the book. How do they contribute to the main storyline? Did they add depth to the overall narrative?
- Discuss the quote “Perhaps some of us are simply born evil, and despite our best efforts we remain that way.”.
- The ending of The Silent Patient reveals a shocking twist. What were your thoughts and feelings about the resolution? Did it satisfy you as a reader? Were there any unanswered questions or loose ends that you wished had been addressed?
- What do you think of Alex Michaelides’ writing style? Did you find the prose engaging and well-crafted? Were there any specific passages or descriptions that stood out to you?
- The ending of The Silent Patient is open to interpretation and leaves room for discussion. What are your personal theories or explanations for the final events?
- Discuss the use of suspense and pacing in The Silent Patient. How did the author maintain tension throughout the book?
- Theo Faber is portrayed as a dedicated and skilled therapist. Discuss his approach to treating Alicia and his determination to uncover the truth.
- Annapurna and Plan B productions will be teaming up for The Silent Patient movie adaptation. Who would you cast as the main characters?
The Silent Patient Book Club Snack Ideas
When choosing book club snacks for a psychological thriller book like The Silent Patient, it’s best to select snacks that complement the dark and surprising nature. So choose from smoked salmon bites to chocolate mystery cupcakes truffles that enhance thrilling discussion that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
- Smoked Salmon Bites
- Greek Mezze Platter
- Dark Berry Smoothies
- Yogurt Parfaits
- Chocolate Mystery Cupcakes
More Book Club Ideas and Activities For The Silent Patient
Here are some exciting book club activities to do while discussing The Silent Patient.
- Listen to The Silent Patient soundtrack– Featuring music from Madonna, Rockwell Thompson Twins, and many more
- Do a character analysis of each character from the book. Ask questions or prepare a short presentation analyzing the character’s motivations, actions, and their impact on the story.
- Do a Greek mythology exploration: Delve deeper into the Greek mythology references in The Silent Patient. Assign different mythological tales to each member and have them present the story to the group
- Create a unique Silent book club experience by dedicating a portion of the meeting to silent reading. Have everyone bring their copies of “The Silent Patient” and enjoy reading in a quiet, serene atmosphere
Frequently Asked Questions about The Silent Patient
- What is the summary of The Silent Patient?
The Silent Patient is the story of Alicia Berenson, a famous artist who is convicted of murdering her husband and subsequently goes silent, refusing to speak. Theo Faber, a psychotherapist, becomes obsessed with Alicia’s case and takes a job at the psychiatric facility where she is held. As Theo delves deeper into Alicia’s mind and tries to unravel the truth behind the murder, he uncovers dark secrets and a shocking twist that changes everything
- Why is The Silent Patient so good?
The Silent Patient is praised for its gripping plot, psychological suspense, and unexpected twists. It keeps readers on the edge of their seats, constantly questioning the truth and unraveling the mystery. The narrative is skillfully crafted, and the exploration of themes such as silence, obsession, and the complexities of the human mind adds depth to the story.
- Should I read The Silent Patient?
If you enjoy psychological thrillers with intricate mysteries and complex characters, The Silent Patient is a great book.
- Is The Silent Patient a scary book?
The Silent Patient is a psychological thriller, not a horror thriller. However, it does have moments of intense suspense and psychological unease
- Should I read The Silent Patient before The Maidens?
The Silent Patient and The Maidens are standalone novels by the same author, Alex Michaelides. While The Silent Patient was published first, the two books have separate storylines and can be read independently of each other.
- Is there romance in The Silent Patient?
The Silent Patient is primarily a psychological thriller, it does contain elements of romantic relationships.
- What are the trigger warnings for The Silent Patient?
As a psychological thriller, The Silent Patient contains themes and scenes that some readers may find triggering. These include depictions of murder discussions of mental illness, schizophrenia or psychosis, trauma, child abuse, and references to self-harm.
More book club questions and snack ideas