Monday, August 22, 2011

Turn of Mind

Turn of Mind, Alice LaPlante's novel is told through a narrator suffering from Alzheimers disease. I will admit this one was both extremely interesting and extremely sad for me. Alzheimers runs in my father's family, and although my dad is not old by any means and in good physical condition, we are sure that he is suffering from this devastating disease. Listening to the narrator, Jennifer White, a skilled orthopedic surgeon forget where she is and what has happened, often slipping back into a different time in her life, makes me sad that such a brilliant mind could not fight off this slow death of the mind.

Dr. White is retired from her practice and lives with a caregiver, Magdalena. Her grown children, Mark and Fiona, check in on her and realize their mother is in need of care. Dr. White is also a person of interest in the death of her best friend (and neighbor) Amanda, who was found dead in her apartment with the four fingers on one hand neatly removed. Dr. White's profession as an orthopedic surgeon casts suspicion on her, yet she is unable to answer questions sufficiently due to her dementia.

While I did wonder what had happened to Amanda and who was responsible, I was more fascinated with the workings of Jennifer's mind. At times she would be very aware of the growing haze her mind was becoming, and at other times she would lapse back into earlier years when her children were young and her husband was still alive. In the next breath she would no longer recognize her son when he visited. Jennifer keeps a journal where she writes herself notes as do her caregiver and children and other friends who visit. By looking through the notes she hopes to be able to jog her memory and retrieve some of what happened to her. I found this idea intriguing - and although I enjoyed reading through this journal, Jennifer's mind continues to deteriorate despite the ways in which she tries to retain some of her memory.

This book is worth the rave reviews it has received and is full of many discussion points as well. Book clubs, women's fiction readers, and anyone who enjoys a good story with an intriguing viewpoint should definitely pick this one up.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I need to fit this one in - sounds so good to me.

Marce said...

My father has dementia, so very sad. I am definitely adding this to my TBR list.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova is an all time favourite about Alzheimers also, you must read it if you haven't.

Bailey (The Window Seat Reader) said...

It seems like Alzheimer's books are becoming somewhat popular in women's fiction. I wonder how this one compares to Still Alice? If I remember right, there's also one out or coming out called Island Girt with a dementia-related plot. This one sounds good!