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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Debut Novel Receives Rave Reviews

Both mesmerizing and chilling is how I would describe the novel I chose to read this week, Alice LaPlante's Turn of Mind.   At the beginning of the novel, Dr. Jennifer White is being questioned for the murder of her best friend and neighbor, Amanda, who was found dead in her home with four fingers cut off with surgical precision.  Since Dr. White is a former orthopedic surgeon, police believe she is the murderer or at least involved in some way.

But is that even possible? Dr. White is suffering from severe dementia and although she has moments of lucidity, there are many bad days when she doesn't even know who her children are or the caregiver who lives with her at her home.  How could a person whose mind is disintegrating be capable of carrying out such a horrible crime and then be successful in covering up her tracks?  The relationship with Amanda was a close one but not without heated arguments and difficulties that frienships endure.  But what would be her motive?

Narrated by Dr. White, this book delves into the characters innermost feelings and her story is a tragic one.  The reader understands what it is like for a highly intelligent surgeon to lose her faculties, to no longer be able to practice medicine, to make decisions regarding her future and where she will live.  Introduced in this book are her two grown children, Mark and Fiona.  Mark for the most part seems untrustworthy, especially when he stops by to visit his mother frequently with the motive of getting her to write him a check. Fiona is in charge of her mother's finances and seems more attentive to the true needs of her mother but even then, questions remain regarding their loyalty.

This book is part thriller, part family drama, and most important, a touching novel that allows readers some insight into the plight of those afflicated with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.  It is a difficult read because of the subject matter especially for anyone who has a family member or friend suffering from dementia.  However, I would still highly recommend this is one of those books that stay with you for a long time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It sounds really good!