I just finished reading the sociopath next door by Martha Stout, Ph.D. on the recommendation of fellow writers. It sounded interesting and I was hopeful it would prove useful for my nano novel this year.
I did take a lot of notes. I did find parts of it interesting. However, when my husband came across me reading it this weekend he took one look at my face and said “bored out of your mind?”
well kind of honey.
The problem is dear Doctor Stout repeats herself, a lot. I understand the definition of conscience, in fact I understood it very thoroughly after her third description. The problem is she explained it multiple times a chapter.
In addition, she used a lot of the same sentences over and over. Did you know 4% of the population are sociopaths, that’s one in every 25 people. Don’t worry you might forget that statistic, she tells you several times a chapter, just in case.
Given that she is a therapist with twenty plus years of experience, specializing in PTSD of survivors of sociopaths, I really expected a lot more case studies. She used a few, but several she made up as amalgamations. I wanted less pontificating and more hard stories. More tales from the dark side on how these people really function.
Towards the end she talks about asking her patients “If you could be completely free of conscience, no moral scruples or guilt at all, what would you do with your life?”
My answer? Not feel guilty. I love my life. I live it in a way that meets my own moral compass.
What about you? What would you do?