Sociopath by Patric Gagne

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Sociopath:

Sociopaths are people, too.

Quick synopsis:

A memoir from a confirmed sociopath who wants to be understood.   

Fact for Non-History People:

Sociopathy was the first personality disorder ever identified over 200 years ago.

Fact for History Nerds:

Sociopaths are about 5% of the population.

My Take on Sociopath:

Buckle up, reader. This review is going to be a roller-coaster.

Ironically, Patric Gagne’s Sociopath left me feeling a lot of different things. Gagne has written a memoir of her life as a sociopath. She chronicles how she tried to live a mostly non-violent life while trying to fight urges and pressures as she becomes more and more aware just how different she feels from everyone else. There is crime, love, and music. Gagne’s memoir is not meant to tell a story, necessarily. It is more of a plea for society to stop looking at sociopaths and thinking, “well, they will probably murder me if they had the chance.”

Normally, I start with the good of the book but here I need to start with the bad. One disclaimer: Gagne states in a note at the beginning of the book that she had to change names, timelines, and reconstruct dialogue. What I am about to say is not in any way me questioning her integrity. However, these reconstructed conversations stretch the bounds of believability. Gagne’s scenes remind me of a TV show with very good writers who consistently put the perfect words into their character’s mouth. It often feels that Gagne applies what she has learned as an adult to her past self. Also, we jump from perfectly timed scene to perfectly timed scene. An episode at the end of the book felt like she was setting up the finale of a movie. I think it’s important to repeat that I don’t question whether approximations of what we read actually happened. My issue is that Gagne has shined the story so brightly that you almost want to look away. Gagne wants the reader to understand her plight and to also see that sociopaths deserve empathy even if they can’t provide that themselves. Some of her points are good, but she also has other ideas which show both a lack of accountability for herself and possibly a savior complex.


Then I kept thinking about what I was reading. It dawned on me that maybe I was holding Gagne to a higher standard than other memoirs I have read. Did I apply my suspicious eye to them or am I more suspect of Gagne because she is a sociopath? After all, don’t many people think sociopaths will lie when it suits them? Would I say a cancer patient who simultaneously studies cancer cures has a savior complex? Is any of that the point?

Ultimately, no, the answers to those questions are not the point. The point was that I asked those questions. The book bounced around in my head and made me question my own views and to try and put myself in the shoes of a sociopath (as I am not one, I promise I’ve been checked).

This is not a perfect book. It has flaws. However, it convincingly accomplishes its goal. That is no small thing.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Simon & Schuster.)


Brutal but an amazing read. Buy it here!

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