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Turn of Mind

by Alice LaPlante

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante X
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Jul 2011, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2012, 320 pages

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There are currently 39 reader reviews for Turn of Mind
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Techeditor

This book is not happy, but it’s gold
After reading three undesirable books in a row, I hit gold with Alice LaPlante's TURN OF MIND. It's not a happy book. It may even break your heart. But it's well written, and its subject matter, at least some of it, hit home and should concern anyone who has a mother.

TURN OF MIND is such a unique literary thriller. It is told from the point of view of Dr. Jennifer White, a 64-year-old orthopedic doctor who specialized in hand surgery. White is now unlicensed because she is suffering from dementia. (Sixty-four seems like early onset to me, but what do I know?) Some days are better than others, but it's getting progressively worse, horrifyingly worse.

White's good friend and neighbor, Amanda, has been murdered. Also, for some reason, four of her fingers have been removed in a surgically precise way. Of course, this points to White. But two other members of White's family, her son Mark and daughter Fiona, both adults, also may have had reason to murder Amanda.

Throughout TURN OF MIND, we learn more and more, through White's sporadic remembrances, about Amanda, Mark, and Fiona. Who is guilty of Amanda's murder, and why did they do it? Why were her fingers removed? Does White ever remember?

More than that, the reader sees the story as a dementia victim, one who is getting progressively worse, would see it. White's remembrances are always confused, and she can never articulate them, at least not so they are understandable.

What will become of White?

My only criticism of this book is its lack of quotation marks. There is no good reason for this. LaPlante italicizes when someone other than White is speaking. It was sometimes difficult for me to tell whether White was speaking or thinking. In my opinion, quotation marks add to a book's readability, and it is rude for an
author not to use them.

TURN OF MIND is LaPlante's first. She wrote it a few years ago, so you may have already read it. If not, do.
Power Reviewer
Suzanne G.

Engaging book
An engaging book! An orthopedic surgeon suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Her best friend is dead. Did Jennifer commit a crime and murder her? The book searches thoughts and actions of those troubled by dementia and the problems of family members dealing with the disease. Much of the “research” was first hand experience of author LaPlante. A great book. And a wonderful cover!
Power Reviewer
Dorothy T.

Engrossing novel
This is a combination of murder mystery and a psychological examination of declining memory due to the ravages of Alzheimer's and its effects on the patient and those around her. The novel is written in an innovative style, partly based on the central character's journal, that lends itself to the suspense and the portrayal of her mental states. I found it hard to put down, and I would definitely recommend it as a book club selection.
Karen R

Hard to put down!
A riveting story of a highly accomplished woman, Dr. Jennifer White, succumbing to the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease. The writing style is original; the story told thru Dr. White's eyes, whose reality changes from day to day, minute to minute. It is a sad story of a woman who keeps a notebook as she progresses in losing her ability to interact properly with the outer world, not recognizing her own children but at other times sharp on events of long ago. Although a work of fiction, this story allows us to peek into the real world of dementia, the brain's deterioration; the frustrations and fears that accompany it. I found myself thinking of my own father who has dementia, wondering if he has the same fractured and frightening thoughts/confusion and will it progress similarly? Remarkable book and hard to put down. The ending just a little bit too tidy for my taste but the book is still well worth the read.
Karen R

Riveting!
A riveting story of a highly accomplished woman, Dr. Jennifer White, succumbing to the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease. The writing style is original; the story told thru Dr. White's eyes, whose reality changes from day to day, minute to minute. It is a sad story of a woman who keeps a notebook as she progresses in losing her ability to interact properly with the outer world, not recognizing her own children but at other times sharp on events of long ago. Although a work of fiction, this story allows us to peek into the real world of dementia, the brain's deterioration; the frustrations and fears that accompany it. I found myself thinking of my own father who has dementia, wondering if he has the same fractured and frightening thoughts/confusion and will it progress similarly? Remarkable book and hard to put down. The ending just a little bit too tidy for my taste but the book is still well worth the read.
Eileen L

What a page turner!
I LOVED this book, and I rarely say that about any book. The plot is intricate and grabs you immediately, the characters are fascinating, and the entire story is flawless in its delivery. I read it in a weekend and have done nothing but recommend it ever since. It is a combination mystery, study of family dynamics and the impact illness can have on those relationships, and a deep exploration of the complexities of friendship. The main character is so clearly depicted I continued to think of her for days after I had finished the book. Amazing read!
Power Reviewer
Diane S.

Turn of Mind by Alice Laplante
One can quickly run out of adjectives describing this novel but I will use chilling and heartbreaking. The reader follows Dr. Jennifer White, age 64, former orthopedic surgeon, as she sinks in the grip of dementia. This story is brilliantly related as she lapses in and out of reality, remembers farther and farther back, secrets of the past are revealed as the filters in her mind disintegrate and her mood changes become more pronounced. She is also being investigated for the murder of her best friend by a woman police detective who refuses to give up, believing that if she talks to Jennifer on the right day the truth will be revealed.
Kathleen W. (Appleton, WI)

Turn of Mind
This is one of the best books that I have read in a very long time. The author captures the tragedy of early-onset dementia in a skillfully crafted and very readable format. The characters are memorable and the interplay of their relationships added to the complexity of the book. I will definitely be recommending this book to both of my book clubs.

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