Sunday, June 8, 2014

How the other half live without care

Book: Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight
Author: M.E. Thomas
Published: 2013 (Crown)
Pages: 302

I feel like I'm the opposite of a sociopath, with way more empathy than does me any good. The world friggin' hurts, man - if you're not bolted down tightly you're gonna shake, rattle, and roll before you turn thirty, and from this memoir of a diagnosed sociopath, it doesn't sound like not caring is much of an answer anyway.

 She tries to make it sound like one. She spends most of the book proving what she implicitly or explicitly does not care about, which is pretty much everything. Even her own gain doesn't come into it a whole lot; she's self-destructive and talks about bad times in her life in the same tone and affect she talks about her manipulated triumphs, which makes for a curiously flat reading experience. 

 She's religious but mostly for the rules and a sort of baseline morality since she doesn't have her own, but she relishes bending rules to just before they break in any aspect of society. I think she might still be a virgin like a desperate high schooler might still be a virgin - yes if you look at it one way, no if you look at it another, probably technically but still damned anyway from the church's point of view. 

 I don't know - I read the excerpt in Psychology Today in my counselor's waiting room, which is what made me want to read the whole book, but the expanded details didn't really seem to cover any more depth. And maybe that's the point, that there IS no more depth for sociopaths, but a broader point didn't emerge, either, so I ended up liking the article better because it had sidebars. I'm a sucker for a good sidebar. 

 This is going back to the library (where, I might add, there are also approximately a bajillion and seven back copies of Psychology Today). My counselor recommended a book called The Noonday Demon which is about writers and depression so that will probably be both more relevant and more interesting. I'll keep you posted.

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