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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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Bethany T. (Annapolis, MD)

Turn of Mind Makes the Mind Turn!
Turn of Mind was by far the most intriguing fiction I've read in quite some time. The title is a fabulous choice for upcoming book discussions. Not only does it give the reader a first hand view of Alzheimers but it's complexities go far deeper delving into the true meaning of friendship, love, motherhood and betrayal. I was riveted to the very end. The characters are well drawn and the plot is fast-moving. It's a quick read while still full of meaty "food for thought". I highly recommend Turn of Mind.
Bethany, Mountain Road Library Associate, Pasadena, MD
Molly K. (San Jose, CA)

From the Inside Out
This is a compelling story delivered in exquisite narrative and conversational prose, taken from the diaries of a medical doctor as she descends into the throes of Alzheimer's disease. The story is wrapped around the unsolved murder of an old family friend, and during the investigation we gradually gain insight into the complex motives of the members in these two families.

I found the characters to be complex and real, and I empathized with all of them. I credit the author for drawing me in to the lives of these people, not all of them likeable.

This is a novel that grabs on the first page and barely releases its hold on the last. The story stayed with me for days.

The book jacket gave no information about the author and her background. How did she surmise the thought processes and mind games of a person with Alzheimer's disease? Research? Observation? Can we trust the memories and observations of someone suffering such a tragic illness?
Beatrice D. (Floral Park, New York)

Living With Alzheimer's
Wow! Alice La Plante has managed to get inside the the head of 65 year-old Dr. Jennifer White, an orthopedic surgeon who had to "retire" from her practice because she is suffering from dementia.

The author uses the device of a journal that Jennifer keeps to take us on the harrowing and frightening ups and downs of this disease that turns the person you know into a total stranger. We learn about Jennifer's life, her children and why she is suspect in the mysterious death of her best friend.

From the very first entry to the last line, this story holds your interest and then some.
Marilyn J. (Harvey, ND)

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
Turn of Mind is as riveting and heartbreaking a read as Still Alice which my book club recently read. A portrait of Alzheimer's, the story illustrates the downward spiral the disease takes and the havoc and heartbreak it wreaks on the lives of all of those involved. The mysterious murder of Dr. Jennifer White's friend Amanda adds an element and layering to a story that in itself is terrifying in its reality for many of us. It's a frightening yet fascinating look into the mind of one caught in the web of a disease unlike any other. For me the story was as helpful in understanding what Alzheimer's does, how it progresses, and how it affects the families involved as it was a story I couldn't put down. I am passing my copy on to my friend, an 88-year-old nun, who wishes to gain more insight into and understanding of some of the people she serves who are afflicted with dementia.
Catherine M. (Grand Forks, ND)

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante
In her novel, Turn of Mind, Alice LaPlante explores themes of contrition, disintegration, and indebtedness. The story concerns Jennifer White, a retired orthopedic surgeon; her husband, James, who is deceased; her two adult children, Mark and Fiona; and her best friend, Amanda, who is the victim in an unsolved murder case. It is also about the debilitating effects associated with Alzheimer’s disease, which, as the story opens and the reader learns, is Jennifer’s unfortunate fate—“to awaken from nightmares and find they were, comparatively, the sweetest of dreams” (p. 297).

Through the blurry lens that is Alzheimer’s and with the help of supporting characters, Jennifer tells her story—her loss of professional esteem, the difficult relationships she shares with her husband and children, and her entangled and turbulent friendship with Amanda.

LaPlante makes effective use of voice. The first half of the story is told from the main character’s point of view. The reader comes to know and understand Jennifer through her introspective and soul-searching observations. By the story’s third part, the author has switched to second person voice—a more passive and outward “you”—as the reader begins to lose touch with Jennifer’s thoughts. In the final section and through mostly third-person story telling, Jennifer is all but lost to the reader and to herself.
Cynthia A. (Grand Rapids, MI)

One of the best books I've ever read!
I dropped everything, canceled everything to read this book, it was that good! The style, format, characters, plot, storyline, all together, make this about the best I have ever read! I will recommend this book to everyone. I can't wait to suggest it to my book club.
Lori (Wayland, MA)

Turn of Mind
A great read. I flew through the book, hardly able to put it down. It reminded me of Still Alice, as far as imagining life with dementia and the vulnerability associated with it, but it had the added suspense of a murder investigation, interesting history which gets revealed in lucid moments, and peripheral characters who made you wonder about their motivation.
Judy G. (Carmel, IN)

Poignant Read
This truly was a book I couldn't put down, read in two sittings on the eve of the first anniversary of my mother's death from Alzheimer's complications. I had only brief glimpses of what my mother's reality was like as I tracked her decline from a distance. This book filled in the blanks for me--at alternating times tearfully, joyfully and with humour.

The writing is so skillfully done that the story flowed seamlessly from beginning to end. The masterful integration of intrigue with what would have been a powerful book without it is amazing and brilliant.

I believe the BookBrowse readers will place this book at the top of their recommendation list to others. As for me, I'll remember this book not only for the writer's expertise but also for bringing me greater understanding of the last years of my mother's life.

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