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Thomas, a diagnosed sociopath, begins this part study of sociopathy, part confessional memoir with narcissistic descriptions of personal style and grooming habits that develop into a complex and layered self-portrait. She describes growing up in a large Mormon family and how her religious practices continued into adulthood, her time as both a music and law student, and how lacking empathy affected all stages of her life, notably her experience with making friends and enemies. Noncriminal sociopaths are, Thomas says, "hidden in plain sight," and her account of this experience doesn't bother with political correctness. She writes with blunt, witty insight on human behavior, particularly sexuality, and is strangely endearing. She smartly overlooks the potential damage to her reputation if a student or colleague reading the book recognized her as the author. Yet the story is too convincing to be a fabrication, and a sociopath isn't likely to feel remorse for expounding intimate details to shed light into the kind of life lived by four percent of the American population. VERDICT A page-turner with broad appeal. Some material has previously appeared on the author's blog, sociopathworld.com; fans will find an enjoyable companion in The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, who offers a psychiatrist's view of the condition.-Chrissy Spallone, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Lib. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Thomas (a pseudonym) is a young white female who has all the classic character traits of a sociopath. She is a thrill seeker with excessive self-esteem and a pronounced lack of empathy. She does not conform to social norms and has a penchant for deceit. I may have a disorder, she writes, but I am not crazy. In fact, she has excelled as an attorney and law professor who regularly writes for law journals and teaches Sunday school every week as a practicing Mormon. She is, she says, intelligent and charming. You would like me if you met me, she insists. She also describes what she is not. She is not a murderer nor was she ever a victim of child abuse. Recent studies, she maintains, report that 1-to-4-percent, or one in every 25 people, is a sociopath. Like her, most live normal lives. She describes her upbringing as the daughter of a violent father and an indifferent and at times hysterical mother and her genetic propensity toward her condition. Fascinating and compelling as well as chilling, Thomas' memoir offers a window into the mind of a portion of the population that usually remains shrouded in mystery and fear.--Sawyers, June Copyright 2010 Booklist