Even before the narrator tells you about his impulse to push Sarah, who had just broken off their engagement, down the stairs, you know that Patrick is troubled. The terse dialogue recounted by Patrick makes for an intense read, and you know from the beginning he is so tightly wound that something unpleasant will happen. He tries to be a normal person, but he displays each of the characteristics of psychopathy he read about in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. He finds this book in the prison library. Patrick finds a measure of peace in prison.
Truth is, now that I've been inside for a good while, I don't always think about my release, and I don't always want to get out.
I'm sometimes happier in here than I was out there. I'm under no pressure to be better in here and life's shrinking to a size that suits me more.
He understands that although he recognizes his problems and the disfunctional interactions he has with others, he would not be able to change that if he were out of prison.
This is the second book I've read recently with extensive descriptions of prison life. I'm hoping to avoid anything more than a mention of prison in my reading for some little time in the future.