A couple of weeks back I went on a
book shopping spree and came across this book in the psychology section of a well-known book-store. Why did I immediately rush to the cashier clutching this book in hand? Because:
- Any memoir written about the human behaviour is fascinating
- I’ve been called a sociopath one too many times
Now first things first. Ever since I put up the picture of the book on Instagram, I’ve been asked repeatedly about “that book about psychopaths.” The term is sociopaths, not psychopaths. There’s a difference. You’re welcome!
The author, M.E. Thomas is a 30 something successful lawyer who just happens to be a diagnosed sociopath. She has had a fairly tragic childhood filled with neglect and bouts of abuse, has a successful career and friends. Yet she hasn’t murdered anyone (except a baby possum) or committed any major crimes. What makes her different from “normal people” is just her fondness for manipulation, risk-seeking behaviour and complete lack of empathy. Throughout the book she talks about normal people who she calls empaths, and how she finds them as baffling as we probably find her.
“Ruining people is delicious. (…) I indulge in inserting myself into a person’s psyche and quietly wreaking as much havoc as I can.”
This is one of the most disturbing and insightful books I’ve ever come across. Not that it holds a candle to the work of Dean Koontz, but what makes this book utterly terrifying is that it’s true. This is an in-depth description by an intelligent and self-aware woman on how the mind of a sociopath works. This memoir is a skewed perspective on the world, which will make you wonder about what normalcy actually is.
You’re going to enjoy the book only if you learn to accept that everyone’s mind and behaviour is different. Heck, I don’t even like hugs and have days where I have no need for any social interaction. Does that make me different? Sure. Does it justify someone telling me I’m not normal? No. What’s fascinating about human behaviour and psychology is that people are different and the world is many shades of grey. Deal with it!
What’s disappointing is the amount of bad reviews I’ve seen about this book on Goodreads. I think a good portion of the readers there are babies. Yes, the author is narcissistic and unlikable who spends half the book contradicting herself. But that’s what makes her writing so genuine. She means what she says because that’s what she’s like.
The author admits that sociopaths have a high opinions of themselves and no insecurities. She brags throughout about her intelligence, accomplishments and admits to her bloated opinion herself. She specifically states that her inability to connect with people and understand empathy is what makes social interaction so difficult. If you were looking for a book about a sociopath who suddenly gets empathy and turns “normal” this is not it. If you were looking for a book about a violent killer in the making who kills puppies, this is also not it.
I’d definitely recommend reading this book to understand the sociopathic mind better. Statistics say that one person out of 25 is a sociopath, so you’re bound to meet one some time. This book and the mass reaction to it just proves the fact that people hate what they can’t understand, what’s different. There’s no way society would be able to accept anyone who’s different to this extent and the amount of hate this book is getting just goes to support that theory. Fact of the matter is, M.E. Thomas gives us a look into the mind of a sociopath. If you don’t like it, do the world a favour and leave it be.