I don’t often read non-fiction, but I do happen to be a fan of Jon Ronson’s writing, and Psychology is something I absolutely love reading about. I studied Psychology when I was at school, and I also conducted a couple of psychopath-based experiments while I was at university, so when I discovered Jon had written a book all about Bob Hare’s Psychopath check-list, it went straight to the top of my pile of books to read.
‘Suddenly, madness was everywhere, and I was determined to learn about the impact it had on the way society evolves. I’ve always believed society to be a fundamentally rational thing, but what if it isn’t? What if it is built on insanity?’
Jon travels into a world of madness which begins with the mysterious book ‘Being or Nothingness’ seemingly sent to various academics around the globe, which leads him to ‘Tony’.
Tony resides at Broadmoor (a psychiatric hospital) after committing GBH twelve years earlier. At aged 17, after attacking a homeless man, Tony faked mental illness to get out of a prison sentence by quoting from the films such as ‘Blue Velvet’, ‘A Clockwork Orange’ ‘Hellraiser’ and even from a biography of Ted Bundy. Twelve years later he is still residing in the DSPD (Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder) unit at Broadmoor, with seemingly no hope of release. How can Tony prove he really is sane? And more importantly, what is the real reason for keeping Tony locked up in the DSPD unit? Jon tells Tony’s story along with many other stories relating to Bob Hare’s psychopath test.
‘”Do you feel empathy? I suppose empathy could sometimes be considered a weakness.”
“No” said Toto “I don’t feel empathy.” He shook his head like a horse with a fly on its nose. “It’s not a feeling I have. It’s not an emotion I have. Feeling sorry for people?”
“I don’t feel sorry for people. No.”‘
A thoroughly fascinating read with rigorous research conducted and explained by Ronson; if you like his writing anyway, you won’t be disappointed.
Original Book Girl