Customer Reviews: The Psychology of Dexter (Psychology of Popular Culture)
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on December 1, 2010
I thought this book was excellent. I bought it because I'm a "Dexter" fan, but the book is really so much more. To start with, it is not written by just one author, but by several specialists in their own fields. You get various opinions about Dexter because of this. But even if Dexter was not the purpose of the book, I would still consider it outstanding. There is much to be explained and learned about all of the "mental problems" everyone experiences through themselves, someone they know, or someone they have heard about. This book really does a good job of explaining the consequences of these problems. Just the chapter alone on "Personality and Behavioral Traits of Adult Children of Narcissistic Families" is worth the price of the whole book. A job well done.
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on January 4, 2011
Psychology of Dexter is an edited book of essays, showing that the first four seasons of Dexter use real life psychology to draw us in, and relate to the characters. It also explores the characters, asking questions such as what if Dexter isn't a psychopath but rather suffering from childhood PTSD? (The answer is that he very well might have been, and not been destined to kill as Harry has told him; in that case, his foster father, although well intentioned, may have in fact turned Dexter into a psychopath.)

Each essay is well thought out, well presented, and all but one ask these type of questions, and really made me think about the show. There was one essay - The Psychology of Dexter's Kills by Marisa Mauro - that I felt fell flat because it was just 'this is what serial killers do, and this is how Dexter fits the role of a serial killer'. Excuse me, but yawn, I know he's a serial killer, I knew enough about trophies to realize that he took them, and while I learned a little more about the trophies, it wasn't enough to keep me hooked. However, this is one out of seventeen essays, and the others kept me reading non-stop; seriously, in line at the grocery store? Hey, it's like one or two minutes, and I needed to know what this book said.

And to be fair to Marisa, she wrote another essay further along in the book called It's All About Harry - which quite frankly makes Harry seem less well intentioned than most of the essays, but was backed up with a lot of quotes, and scenes from the show, and made sense when given the layman's terms, and the proof - and which held my interest far, far more than her first essay. In fact, only going over the list of essays did I realize they were written by the same person.

The thing that I really liked about this essay is that I didn't feel bogged down by Psychology jargon; the writers explain what the jargon is as quickly as possible, so a layman can relate, and then use that to explain how real life psychology effects Dexter and his world, or the way we as an audience relate to Dexter. I read a lot of psychology texts that my mom has lying around the house, so I know a little more than the average person, and I was still fascinated. However, I feel that not knowing psychology in depth, that I was able to keep up with the jargon because it was explained in simple terms - without making me feel stupid, which was a bonus.

So in the end, must read, highly recommended, but you pretty much have to have seen the first four seasons of Dexter to really be interested in this book.
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on February 27, 2011
This is a collection of essays by different authors, covering different aspects of the psychology of the character Dexter, the interactions between the characters as if they were real people, and comparing Dexter to other serial killers. What if Harry had taken Dexter to therapy when he was young instead of training him to be a serial killer? How do serial killers work and how do they compare to Dexter? How do Deb and the other characters enable Dexter? How does the show "work?" How do the writers draw the viewers in? This is an interesting analysis of us, the viewers, and why we react the way we do to the show. And, who is scarier -- Dexter and other serial killers, or "ordinary" people who manage genocide and kill many, many more people? One author argues that these "normal" people are far more dangerous.

A few of the ideas I'd thought of already, a few I thought were far-fetched, and others were eye-opening. Read this book if you're curious about how Dexter's mind works and how his mind fits into the larger human experience.
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on May 31, 2011
Brilliant book that actually makes the series come alive a bit more. This effort could easily have turned into a dull synopsis full of psych industry jargon, but it's a great read filled with examples. Definitely Recommended!
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on December 21, 2014
I was looking for a Christmas present for my husband and saw this...I was not disappointed. Reading the psychological essays from professionals about how and why America is obsessed with Dexter and why we root for a serial killer. This read was extremely fascinating and is great for any Dexter and Psychology fan who is looking into learning about psychological disorders and interesting facts about Dexter and his
"Dark Passenger". I recommend to everyone who is a fan of Dexter and the amazing world of psychology.
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on October 3, 2014
Quick and short review.

As a fan of the show (except the last Season), for $4.99, this was a fun and interesting read, giving one all sorts of different perspectives for the characters in the show. Dexter is covered in great detail, and the various authors discuss some of the other vital characters like Debra and Harry. There is some variation is interpretation and focus which tends to keep it fresh.

This book ONLY covers the first 4 Seasons (and does occasionally reference the original books), so be advised.

The only downside this book had was the last author, who seemed to take the opportunity to lecture on political issues, using the series as a cover to do so. I found it to be out of place and jarring with the rest of the book, leaving a mildly bad taste in my mouth.

I would NOT spend $14 or even $10 on this. $5 seemed about right.
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on January 13, 2014
For Dexter addicts, this was quite a fascinating read. Liked how the short chapters were each written by different people to give insight into how Dexter & his thinking relates to real life conditions. Easy to read and fun to learn about the show's characters in a more in depth way. If you love the TV series, you'll like this book.
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on January 27, 2011
Want to know how the show Dexter compares to Star Wars or Harry Potter? Want to know why we as an audience can be so fascinated by the journey of a serial killer and even regard him as a hero that we root for? These ideas and many more comprise these essays about the show's first four seasons - written by fans of Dexter who are also psychologists. The show's other characters, as well as Harry, are explored as well. I found it very interesting and thought-provoking. And as I rewatch the show with my husband, I'm better understanding, appreciating and enjoying what I already knew was a great show with one of the most compelling characters on TV - Dexter Morgan. Make sure you've watched through Season 4 though to avoid spoilers.
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on July 23, 2015
Is Dexter a product of nature or nurture? Is Harry a great dad who carefully steered his murderous impulses toward vigilantism or a narcissist who deprived him of counseling that could have saved him from his fate? Did Dexter have PTSD or was he a born killer?

If you have wondered about these questions, and are interested in psychological analysis, this is a worthwhile book. The authors sometimes disagree, which in my opinion provides diverse perspectives and makes the book more interesting. Other characters such as Lila, Rita, and Deb are also discussed.

Some of the articles are weak, especially the one that said that Dexter was more abusive than Paul, the violent ex-husband who broke Rita's bones and terrorized her. Yes, Dexter had many deficiencies as a husband, but nothing that he did to Rita remotely compared to Paul's actions. I'm rating this with 4 stars because some of the articles were just not that good. But some, such as the Jungian perspective and the write-up on narcissism, were apropos and thought-provoking, making it worthwhile to plow through the inferior ones.

I also wish that there was more written about some of the other characters. Maria wasn't mentioned, and she's worth an analysis. And Christine, the Trinity Killer's daughter with daddy issues, was acted with chillingly accurate nuance. I wish someone had written about her; I thought that she was one of the most interesting characters on the show.

This book isn't for everyone, but if you find Dexter to be the most psychologically intriguing show ever, read it!
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on July 7, 2014
An interesting collection of essays for the psychologically interested and for fans of the show. Some essays are better than others, however, and not always as satisfying as the next. Not a bad read.
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