Psychopath or Sociopath?

Psychopath or Sociopath? I tend to get these two terms confused. But, in Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel, Gone Girl, it’s apparent that one of the characters fits one of those conditions to a tee-but which one? In a page turning thriller filled with rising tension, an unsettled feeling slowly seeps through the seemingly normal relationship at the heart of the story.

Using the viewpoints of both Nick and his missing wife Amy as they approach their fifth wedding anniversary, each of their voices attempt to convince the reader that their reality and point of view is the correct one. They both artfully set up their story, going back and forth from the beginning of their relationship and continuing through Amy’s disappearance.

From the outside looking in, the reader discovers that their relationship and marriage, while convincingly loving and fulfilling to the casual observer at the beginning, may have some disturbing components. Amy’s diary entries provide a glimpse into the life of an overachieving young woman who possibly may have way too much on her plate. Nick’s evasive actions and the sketchy answers he provides to the police make one wonder what he’s hiding. Is it possible he’s a killer?

The stunning conclusion will evoke differing responses from readers ranging from disbelief, sympathy, confusion and disgust as we are reminded that life is not always as it seems. There is much to discuss with your friends, neighbors, book clubs and coworkers. You can decide for yourself if there is a psychopath or sociopath lurking on the pages you will be quickly turning.

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