Disclaimer: This book was kindly gifted to me by Penguin Random House SA in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Silent Treatment; Author: Abbie Greaves; Published: 5 February 2020; Publisher: Penguin; Genres: Psychological Fiction, Domestic Fiction; Page count: 328
In her debut novel, Abbie Greaves tells a story about loss, lies and love at the heart of a troubled marriage. This beautifully written story of a marriage over a number of years is both uplifting and heartbreaking.
In the first pages, we are introduced to Maggie under rather extreme circumstances. When Frank’s wife, Maggie, collapses in their home, she ends up in a medically induced coma with an unclear prognosis. The nurse on duty tells Frank to talk to her as it’s good for patients to hear their loved ones’ voices. The only problem is, Frank hasn’t spoken to Maggie in six months. Although Maggie has pleaded with him to speak to her, Frank has been unable to say a single word. And now, as his time might be running out, Frank attempts to speak to Maggie and tell her what happened. With that, Frank starts by recounting the story of their 40-year relationship.
We come to know Maggie through Frank’s eyes as he recounts the history of their courtship, relationship, and marriage with all its ups, downs, hardships, and celebrations. And this was executed perfectly and it worked for the story. The story alternates between past and present and in the present we get to see how Maggie is doing in the hospital. The process of Frank recounting their relationship works perfectly in reminding him of their love. Their relationship, in general, went through so much and it’s good to know that they conquered everything even with their different personalities in terms of dealing with things.
Abbie’s writing is amazing making both characters come alive and she knows when to reveal things without dragging the story any further. The different personalities worked very well for the message at hand.
Although the story is largely told from Frank’s point of view as he talks directly to Maggie, we get to see Maggie’s journal entries, meant for Frank to read. With that, we also get Maggie’s point of view as to their relationship and how the silent affected her. Abbie addresses topics of loss and parenthood perfectly and they are so relatable and things we have experienced a lot in our daily lives. It is raw, honest and emotional, and I can’t wait to find out how Abbie Greaves follows up this incredible debut.
A lifetime together.
Six months of silence.
One last chance.
By all appearances, Frank and Maggie share a happy, loving marriage. But for the past six months, they have not spoken. Not a sentence, not a single word. Maggie isn’t sure what, exactly, provoked Frank’s silence, though she has a few ideas. Day after day, they have eaten meals together and slept in the same bed in an increasingly uncomfortable silence that has become, for Maggie, deafening. Then Frank finds Maggie collapsed in the kitchen, unconscious, an empty package of sleeping pills on the table. Rushed to the hospital, she is placed in a medically induced coma while the doctors assess the damage. If she regains consciousness, Maggie may never be the same. Though he is overwhelmed at the thought of losing his wife, will Frank be able to find his voice once again—and explain his withdrawal—or is it too late?
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