Customer Review

140 of 164 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Take It With a Grain of Salt, July 10, 2011
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This review is from: Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of inevitable Harm With Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists (Perfect Paperback)
I bought this book in part due to its interesting title (and I was picking up Jon Ronson's "Psychopath Test" at the same time) and in part due to the glowing reviews on Amazon.

Although I learned one or two interesting ideas about how/why certain women might be more susceptible to certain psychopaths, I found the book to be so unscientific as to be virtually worthless.

Please note that all the information in this book is derived from women solicited on a website to fill out a survey and who self-report that they had been in relationships with psychopaths. There is no outside confirmation that any of those men were psychopaths aside from the reports of the women who had been involved with them. (Note that there is also no questioning as to whether any of the women voluntarily responding to the survey had any mental illness or personality disorder. All the women were portrayed as bright, professional women with no mental health issues of any kind, prior to the harm they experienced at the hands of a psychopath.)

I was curious whether any of the men I had been involved with might be classified as psychopaths, but I couldn't really use any of the data in the book to determine this. For one thing, I was immediately excluded as "the sort of woman who gets involved with psychopaths" because I'm an introvert, not an extrovert. All the examples given were of extroverted professional women getting involved with extroverted charming psychopaths. In addition to the women being reduced to a specific type, the relationship pattern was always the same. I.e., the pattern of the bright woman/manipulative psychopath relationship always begins with mind-blowing sex and soulmate passion, changing to manipulation and control while the psychopath moves on to his next sexual conquest. (Surely there must be other patterns, but these are not discussed. How about women who remain married to psychopaths for 30 years--like the woman in Austria whose husband kept their own daughter imprisoned as a sex slave in the basement of their apartment building for over 20 years? Surely that guy was a psychopath--right? But his type is not discussed in this book, because the only women who reported info for this survey were bright professional women who had left their psychopaths, not numb housewives who were still living with theirs.)

Another questionable technique is the way Brown quotes her own work as an outside source. Sentences like "According to "Women Who Love Psychopaths"..." abound. This is a way of making information you have come up with yourself sound more scientific (as if you are quoting a reputable outside source), but when you are only quoting your own book, in fact the very book the reader is now reading, it doesn't inspire confidence.

The end of the book wraps up with a pitch for Sandra Brown's online services. This made the whole book feel like a thinly disguised sales pitch to me. I'm sure it's no coincidence that the primary market for Sandra Brown's suite of counseling services would be professional women (read: women with disposable income)--precisely the same women who responded to the initial survey and who are depicted in the book.

Lastly, I'll comment on the poor editing/proofreading. The book is filled with grammatical errors, wrong words, etc. My personal favorite was the frequent references to "power mongrels" (when what is meant is "power mongers").

This book may be interesting in giving you some insight into a certain type of woman who might be susceptible to a certain type of psychopathic relationship. You may identify with some of the information and find it enlightening or comforting. I did get a few insights out of the material. Just be a sensible consumer and take it all with a big grain of salt.
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 32 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 3, 2011 9:51:39 AM PDT
TawnTawn says:
She quotes her book in the book??? Not even a different book but the SAME book? How idiotic - not to mention insulting to the reader...and "power mongrels"???? haha...I'll have to skip this genius writer.

Posted on Aug 3, 2011 9:33:55 PM PDT
Rose Red says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2011 10:55:44 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 3, 2011 11:05:37 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2011 11:19:02 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 7, 2011 12:21:21 PM PDT
Shadow says:
I had to delete my first response. Sorry--the best response to the personal remarks in the previous posting is silence.

I was sorry there were no thoughtful negative reviews up on this book before I bought it. I might have saved my $24. If I can help a few other readers like me avoid making a purchase they'll regret, then my work here is done.

For the many others who have loved this book in the past and will love it in the future--carry on. My review wasn't written for you. I hope you enjoy the book and get everything out of it that you are looking for.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2011 11:43:46 AM PDT
Rose Red says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Nov 21, 2011 9:23:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 23, 2011 11:22:56 PM PST
J. E. Graham says:
We must not have read the same book because I saw her quoting many doctors and research articles/information. (It is on the bottom of the pages). 13 year experience with a Psychopath, I have to say she's dead on. And I've read many books, articles, scientific research on Psychopaths - $24 bucks isn't anything compare to the thousands upon thousands that you will spend if you don't understand and don't get out of the Psychopath's web (some victims/hosts lose everything - physically, emotionally, financially). If ONLY you knew. Maybe Sandra should elaborate and write another 1000 pages to get your approval and get the examples that you so desperately need - or maybe you should look in the crime section?

I would recommend this book to every woman that has came in contact with one of these predators. She nailed ME and my EX to a TEE. This type of book should be part of Psych curriculum in universities/colleges, especially since there isn't much public awareness on the subject.

Posted on Dec 15, 2011 1:48:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 15, 2011 1:49:27 PM PST
Clear Blue says:
I appreciate your review and critiques of this book. I agree with you on a professional book writer with a lack of "Professionally" edited content is not acceptable. I looked up her other book by the same name and right now it is listed at the lowest price of 86.00 on Amazon. I agree with you that the content should reflect all women who have relationships with men like this. The author should have been able to identify not only with "career" women but with women in general, those who happen to have made "home and family" their career and have also found themselves in the web of just such a man. It is a shame so many women seem offended by your review and chose personal attacks, which is what people do when then they can't think of any sort of constructive criticism. It is refreshing to me to see one who stands out from the crowd and actually gives a good critique of the material in a book that one is going to spend hard earned dollars on. I for one won't waste my money on this book.

Posted on Jan 10, 2012 10:20:54 PM PST
Thank you for this review! I was nervous about paying so much for a book like this, and I would have been extremely annoyed when I discovered the quality. You've saved me money, and aggravation (and I've little enough of the first, and too much of the second!)

I am an introvert as well, and not a 'career woman.' When I met, and married a psychopath, I was a student. His newest victim is a nanny. 'My' psychopath is also an introvert, though a charming one. It doesn't sound like this would necessarily be relevant to me, either.

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 10:15:40 PM PST
Alec says:
About half of the 5-star reviews for this book were posted by people who 1) did not buy the book on Amazon, 2) never reviewed any other products, and 3) posted really short reviews. These traits fit another classic pattern.

Posted on Feb 16, 2012 1:26:33 PM PST
I was one of the participants in this study, and I'd like to clarify a few points.

Yes, the participants were solicited from the LoveFraud website, and I don't know if Sandra Brown found participants from other sources. However, this website is specifically maintained for two purposes. One is to provide education about sociopaths to people who may be or have been involved in a relationship. The other is to host a blog and forum for people who are recovering from these relationships.

Criticizing the research because the partners have not been diagnosed as psychopaths (the new official name for sociopaths) misses the point. People who have been involved with malignant users find their experiences to be astonishingly similar. Both during the relationship, which tends to follow a consistent path of seduction, usage and abuse, and in the long and challenging process of recovery.

The fact that people self-diagnose their own circumstances and take it upon themselves to categorize their partners or ex-partners may not hold up to formal scientific research standards. But as the reviews of this book indicate, the research has tremendous value to those of us who are trying to understand what happened to us, and what it means about us as people and about the nature of the world.

As someone who participated in the research, I was impressed with the questionnaire. It was obviously written by someone with experience in the field of treating women coming out of these relationships. The questions were the right questions. The quality of the questionnaire is reflected in the value of the findings. Reading this book not only provides a mirror of our common experiences, but a lot of positive and helpful information that supports our recovery.

Finally, there was a comment about the earlier edition of the book, which is a quite different book. I reviewed it and noted that there were weakness in the first half of the book which discusses psychopathy, although the second half's discussion of the research was, alone, worth price of the book. Although I haven't read the second edition, I assume that the these weaknesses, which I believe were related to the contributions of the co-author of the first edition, are corrected. This second edition was completely authored by Sandra Brown.
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