The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

Book: The Psychopath Test
Author: Jon Ronson

Why I Read It: I have quite the interesting in abnormal psychology and did a bit of research on the Hare Psychopath Checklist while working on my MA, so this title jumped off the shelf at me
First Line: This is a story about madness.

First Impression: Huh. Definitely not the way I thought this story would start.
Last Impression: It was interesting....I guess.

Overall – 2 Faint Pulse
Characters – 2 There aren't characters, just real people interviewed who were sometimes given aliases to hid their identity. Ronson doesn't spend much time on descriptions of these people and as a results they feel rather flat.
Story – 2 The story starts in an unexpected and weak place for the expectations the title and cover imagery create, and since the ending is tied to the beginning it is not strong either. The rest of the novel is entertaining in rare moments and I learned a little, but overall I was underwhelmed.
Narration – 3 Ronson has skill with gathering the appropriate research, contacts and tidbits for his work, but they are tied together in a rather haphazard way, giving the novel an disjointed and disconnected feel.

Read Again? No. I read it once and now my curiosity is satisfied.
Tell Others to Read? No, probably not. There are other journalistic novelists that I would recommend first.

Excerpt: It was an awful lot harder, Tony told me, to convince people you're sane rather than it is to convince them you're crazy.
     "I thought the best way to seem normal," he said, "would be to talk to people normally about normal things like football and what's on TV. That's the obvious thing to do, right? I subscribe to New Scientist. I like reading about scientific breakthroughs. One time they had an article about how the U.S. Army was training bumblebees to sniff out explosives. So I said to a nurse, 'Did you know that the U.S. Army is training bumblebees to sniff out explosives?' Later when I read my medical notes, I saw they'd written, Thinks bees can sniff out explosives."

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This work by H.E. Saunders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.