“The Patient” by Jasper DeWitt walks the thin line between therapist and patient. In a first person narrative, the writer, a therapist, talks directly to the reader sharing thoughts and fears. The writer is not sure if he privy to a terrible secret or if he himself is actually insane. Readers are introduced to Joe, the patient whom the narrator is treating. Joe has no criminal record with the police, and he is nonviolent, and his parents are obviously wealthy enough to pay for this intense treatment, but yet…
The story continues as clinical descriptions of the treatment of Joe. The narrator describes the manipulation, anger, nightmares, and monsters he observes. He is well trained in the treatment of what he diagnoses as dissociative identity disorder, but he also wonders if he will be able to produce positive results.
DeWitt created a narrative that quickly erases the line between treatment and power, between cerebral illusions and stark reality. Readers watch as personalities crumble and monsters envelop everyone. I received a review copy of “The Patient” from Jasper DeWitt and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers. It is a terrifying tale of predator and prey, of haunted nightmares and disturbing realities.
You can start this book anytime you want, but do not finish it alone, at night, just at bedtime.