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Jon V. (Mechanicsburg, PA)
A solid effort, but falls short
The inherent danger of a disjointed narrative is the way it keeps a reader from becoming immersed in a story. We are constantly jostled and thrown around. I appreciate that LaPlante gives good reason for it -- a narrator with dementia -- but ultimately, the story just didn't grab me. She made an ambitious play by telling a story through a broken mind, but the result is less than spectacular.
Erin S. (Springville, UT)
Unreliable narration at its best!
LaPlante's brilliant writing made me feel that I was suffering dementia along with the main character. The mystery element is the central plot but is not what makes this book interesting. It is getting to know the flawed characters through the unreliable narration. I did not want to put the book down, and I am still thinking about it a week later.
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.
Molly K. (San Jose, CA)
From the Inside Out
Bethany, Mountain Road Library Associate, Pasadena, MD
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.
Beatrice D. (Floral Park, New York)
Living With Alzheimer's
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?
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.
Corinne S. (Paoli, PA)
Who Murdered Amanda?
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.
Alice LaPlante writes a murder mystery interwoven with a heart-breaking journey of Dr. Jennifer White, who is an orthopedic surgeon, diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. LaPlante keeps the suspense high as I try to piece the puzzle of events together from the fog of Jennifer's diminished memory. I found that I had to pay attention and the desire to solve the murder kept me turning the pages. Book clubs would enjoy learning what this disease is like through the eyes of Jennifer, her daughter Fiona, and her son Mark. Each character has a different perspective of how Jennifer is able to function when she fades in and out of reality. Can Jennifer live at home? What does it feel like to have your mother not know who you are? Can you love someone who is not cognitively aware? How do you respect the woman, your mother, and keep her dignity when she can disappear out the door in the freezing snow with hardly any clothes on? Turn of Mind reminds me of the book Still Alice by Lisa Genova.
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.
"Turn of Mind" scares the pants off aging parents and their children.
Alice LaPlante expertly puts a reader into a dementia burdened mind. The main character, Jennifer White, is a doctor spiraling down a darkening rabbit hole. The reader searches for truth between imagination and remembrance. A murder has occurred and the prime suspect is the 61 year old doctor.
The scare of the story is not the murder; it is the terror of forgetting and the burden of living. Doctor White tries to remember faces and names. She raises hell with her family and nursing staff. Her two children are reluctantly compelled to commit her to a complete care facility because Dr. White's dementia exceeds a care giver's ability to manage her at home.
LaPlante's story is a fairly good mystery but it is most interesting because it reminds a reader of the tragic and scary consequence of dementia. The poor, at least today, have Medicaid for this long life disease. The rich have insurance. The middle class have bankruptcy. "Turn of Mind" is a primer on what dementia means to a sufferer and his or her family.