The Silent Patient is one of the books that are fun to discuss in your book club. You could talk about Theo, Alicia, her diary, to the plot twist at the end.
At the back of the book, there are ten book club questions for The Silent Patient to guide our discussion.
I don’t belong to any book club, so I thought it would be fun to answer them in this post.
To save you time, I have made a printable The Silent Patient book club questions so you can easily share it with your members. Fill out the form below to get it!
Answering The Silent Patient Book Club Questions
Every book needs to grab readers’ attention from the very first page.
In this genre, is there even another way to do it besides announcing someone’s murder?
I think that’s what the author did and it certainly worked for me.
2. Alicia’s diary plays a key role in the book. What purpose do you think it serves? And does your perception of Alicia change the more you read?
The Silent Patient refers to Alicia and she definitely was not silent enough, but well, she deserved to share her voice for a book that uses her in the title you know.
Alicia’s diary allows us to get into her mind, the one who pulled the trigger, not only her accomplice Theo.
I believe my perception of her changed not only because of her diary; but also because of Theo’s narrative as a psychotherapist and her childhood story from Paul.
I have never heard Alcestis’ story before I read this book because I don’t believe my Greek myth bible, Riordanverse series, has mentioned her once.
By the summary described in this book, the story is honestly quite devastating.
Alicia mentioned that a few days after the incident she was silent not by choice; she actually couldn’t find her voice. This is likely because she was still in shock.
However, when she was able to finally speak again, she didn’t see any benefits in explaining what happened that night. Everyone has already pointed her as the murderer and she knew that they were right.
She may not fully responsible, but she had two choices, and she chose to pull the trigger. I think that’s what is inside her head and that’s why she is silent.
In her head, she’s deadly caught.
4. Theo’s motives to work with Alicia are complicated. Do you think he wanted to help her?
Like Alicia, Theo is also broken. He could be genuinely wanted to help her, but that is not what happened.
Figuratively speaking, Alicia had already on the cliff’s corner and Theo is the one that pushed her. He made her worse.
5. Both Alicia and Theo had difficult childhoods. Early on, Theo says no one is born evil. That who we become depends on the environment into which we are born. By the end of the novel he appears to change his mind, saying that perhaps some of us are born evil, and, despite therapy, we remain that way. Which do you think is true?
The former, of course. Babies are pure and the environment participates greatly in shaping who they become.
It’s interesting that by the end Theo shifts the blame from his parents to deny their influences. I think it made Theo more dangerous because he is now starting to embrace that side that he thinks is always a part of himself.
Did you enjoy the book?
Discover more books like The Silent Patient here.
6. Weather plays a large role in the book, such as the heat wave during the summer. What purpose do you think the description of the weather serves in the novel?
The weather is known to affect people’s moods.
The heat in the summer could be underlying the tension of events that happen in this book, because heat brings out the worst in people. As well as the winter, which pairs our narrator’s mood of hopelessness.
As the weather changed, our view of the narrator and the main subject was also challenged. After reading this fast-paced book, I feel like I have been following this case for years not only a few hours.
7. Do you think the world of a psychiatric unit was convincingly portrayed? How do you feel about Diomedes and the other psychiatrists?
The psychiatric unit was a huge part of the book and it won’t work if the author did not portray it well. But when I read the book, I felt the distress of the whole unit and its occupants.
I like that the book has a diverse cast of psychiatrists, which can easily readers differentiate.
We have Diomedes who is supportive and willing to go into problems for his patient.
There’s Christian West, who has a secret and goes into rivalry with our narrator.
Indira Sharma, who is as comforting as her name. Also Yuri and Ruth.
All of them have their own part in the book, no matter how small it is.
8. We never enter Kathy’s mind in the book. Do you have any sympathy for her?
We resent cheaters in this house.
With that said, I don’t believe they deserve to lose their lives like Gabriel. And Kathy, who had to endure losing him.
But again, none of this would happen if they were not untruthful, so …
9. What do you think happens at the end of the book? The last line is ambiguous.
“As I listened, I looked up at the white clouds drifting past. Finally, they had opened—it had started to snow—snowflakes were falling outside. I opened the window and reached out my hand. I caught a snowflake. I watched it disappear, vanishing from my fingertip. I smiled. And I went to catch another one.”
As Theo listened to the officer, I think he knew he doesn’t have any other way out.
The open window and him catching snowflakes a few times could be a symbol of his last time experiencing freedom. It’s also a nod to when he said that grasping at vanishing snowflakes is like grasping at happiness.
With all that Theo has done, in the end, he still got caught.
Because of the clear evidence, the officer must have not come alone and there was a force waiting outside. My best guess is they arrested him for attempted murder.
Agatha Christie’s influence is undeniable, which actually my favourite aspect of this book.
I imagine that the pitch for this book went like “It’s a detective story but instead of Hercule Poirot, we have a psychiatrist named Theo who tries to solve a case!”
Other than that, I think it’s a typical whodunit story which leaves the readers wondering until they make it to the last pages for the reveal of what actually happened.
Oh wow! I actually had a lot of fun answering The Silent Patient book club questions. I bet your book club discussion will be more interesting though.
Do you agree or disagree with my answers?
Let’s form a book club in the comment section!