Loved this book! I know other reviewers are saying this, but it's true: I laughed out loud almost the entire time while reading this book. Tina Fey ha...moreLoved this book! I know other reviewers are saying this, but it's true: I laughed out loud almost the entire time while reading this book. Tina Fey has that nerdy girl-next-door relatable-ness but still knows how to curse effectively and understands the universal humor of farts. Fantastic!(less)
Who hasn’t wanted to crawl inside the dark mind of a sociopath? Though few may want to for the sheer guilty pleasure of it, I think most are curious a...moreWho hasn’t wanted to crawl inside the dark mind of a sociopath? Though few may want to for the sheer guilty pleasure of it, I think most are curious as to why a member of our own human race would choose to act so, well, inhuman. While rooting for the allegorical hero, don’t we find ourselves at least somewhat intrigued by what makes the psychopathic bad guy tick? Ask anyone who has seen the movie “The Silence of the Lambs” who the most memorable character is, and I bet it won’t be the naive yet precocious and courageous young FBI student, Clarice Starling, who ultimately ends up apprehending the story’s other serial killer.
So why are we fascinated by the bad guys? I always thought it was because they were so different from me and also because they were so gratefully rare. I mean, I don’t personally know any serial killers. I think. And while Professor Martha Stout’s book, The Sociopath Next Door, agrees that this particular group of bad guys are vastly different from “normal” humans, they are not necessarily uncommon. Stout’s book states that 4% of the population suffers from sociopathy, which is defined as a mental disorder rendering its victims antisocial and without conscience. And while 4% may not seem like a lot, she parallels this statistic by saying cases like anorexia and colon cancer affect less than 3% of the population, which does add a more horrific perspective.
Stout’s book allows us to traipse through the twisted workings of the sociopathic mind by offering a nice balanced mix of case studies and scientific theories. She claims that sociopaths are everywhere, and our me-first western culture supports their development. This is backed by the fact that there are more serial killers in North America than there are in Asia. Thankfully, not all sociopaths are violent like Ted Bundy, but they are, nonetheless, extremely dangerous and have the ability to cause mass devastation in the forms of an empty bank account, self-doubt, loveless marriages, tormenting co-workers, a crazed boss, etc. She offers readers somewhat of a profile to identify these sociopaths and follows up with ways to protect yourself.
However, the part I enjoyed most about this book was her ability to champion the conscience. Stout esteems the conscience as not only the protector of the human race but also as the entity that defines what it means to be human.
I thought this was a great book. Easy to read. Throughly enlightening. Equally fascinating. And surprisingly educational and relevant to my own bit of reality because after reading it, I think actually do know a couple of sociopaths... (less)
I picked this up not knowing it was a YA novel, but I doubt that would have stopped me from reading it anyway. However, the tone and character develop...moreI picked this up not knowing it was a YA novel, but I doubt that would have stopped me from reading it anyway. However, the tone and character developments of this read are perfectly suited for a YA audience, which is is why I ultimately had to put this book down. The story's pacing is slooooooow. The main character is way too whiny and insecure - even for me. I think I would have loved this book as a tween/early teen, but overall, it just left feeling super glad that I am now an adult. (less)
4.5, really, but I thought it was very well done. I was so hesitant to read it because of the subject matter, but Donoghue's characters are tender yet...more4.5, really, but I thought it was very well done. I was so hesitant to read it because of the subject matter, but Donoghue's characters are tender yet tangible, and joining them on this horrific, remarkable journey was exciting and revelatory. It was super touching personally because I have my own five year old, so I kept imagining him as the narrator.(less)
This book was like surrendering to the horrific yet mesmerizing display of watching a train derail, crash and explode. The sheer intensity of its deva...moreThis book was like surrendering to the horrific yet mesmerizing display of watching a train derail, crash and explode. The sheer intensity of its devastation is almost unbearable yet it's impossible to look away. Just when you think this story can't get any sadder, it unapologetically does. But it does so in a way that respectfully reveals the authentic underbelly of its characters. This book isn't a downer just for the sake of being a depressive voyeuristic foray into the lives of those less fortunate. It takes an honest look at abuse, sexual discovery, and the consequences of carrying undeserved burdens. Plus, the writing is so wonderful. It was a pleasure to read/listen to.
I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5 because I didn't like the romantic relationship in the book. It felt forced and phony and undermining.
Not, not, not recommended for those who read purely for escapist purposes. (less)