Book Review – Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

I have never read anything like it… As you are reading this, remind yourself that it is a FIRST NOVEL by this author….. it is just stunning.

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

How to begin describing a book like this? A book which gives a detailed look into a mind so very different from my own as to be completely foreign?  The narrator – if you can call her that – of Turn of Mind is Jennifer White, a 64-year-old very-well-respected former hand surgeon who is rapidly succumbing to Alzheimers. Her days and moods are varied – some days lucid and clear, when she understands what is happening to her with a clinical detachment. Some days confused, frightened and downright paranoid. Some days angry and violent. From day to day her adult children and her live-in caregiver do not know what to expect from her. They keep a journal for her, in the the hope that it will help her remember.But the decent into dementia is only part of the story. Jennifer’s best friend, Amanda, who lives three houses down the street, has been murdered – and 4 fingers of her hand have been expertly amputated. Naturally the police suspect Jennifer, but have no evidence, and Jennifer cannot remember.  Sometimes the police treat her as though her amnesia is a “convenient excuse” to cover up the crime. Most days Jennifer cannot even remember that her friend is dead, so she relives the horror of learning that fact (along with the death of her husband) over and over and over.

Did she kill Amanda? Or didn’t she? Stunning, heart-breaking, strange and haunting. I could not put it down.