Read Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante Online


A stunning first novel, both literary and thriller, about a retired surgeon with dementia who clings to bits of reality through anger, frustration, shame and unspeakable loss.Turn of Mind, a literary page-turner about a retired orthopedic surgeon suffering from dementia and accused of killing her best friend, was a New York Times hardcover bestseller and named a Best BookA stunning first novel, both literary and thriller, about a retired surgeon with dementia who clings to bits of reality through anger, frustration, shame and unspeakable loss.Turn of Mind, a literary page-turner about a retired orthopedic surgeon suffering from dementia and accused of killing her best friend, was a New York Times hardcover bestseller and named a Best Book of the Year by Newsday, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and Kirkus Reviews.When Dr. Jennifer White's best friend, Amanda, is found dead with four of her fingers surgically removed, Dr. White is the prime suspect. But she herself doesn't know whether she did it. Told in White's own voice, fractured and eloquent, a picture emerges of the surprisingly intimate, complex alliance between these life-long friends—two proud, forceful women who were at times each other's most formidable adversary. As the investigation into the murder deepens and White's relationships with her live-in caretaker and two grown children intensify, a chilling question lingers: is White's shattered memory preventing her from revealing the truth or helping her to hide it? A startling portrait of a disintegrating mind clinging to bits of reality through anger, frustration, shame, and unspeakable loss, Turn of Mind is a remarkable debut that examines the deception and frailty of memory and how it defines our very existence....

Title : Turn of Mind
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780385669856
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Turn of Mind Reviews

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2019-05-07 20:32

    Onvan : Turn of Mind - Nevisande : Alice LaPlante - ISBN : 385669852 - ISBN13 : 9780385669856 - Dar 320 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2011

  • Michelle
    2019-05-14 15:20

    I was really surprised how much I wasn't blown away by this book. I thought I would be! It's a Powell's choice! It has an interesting premise (a woman with Alzheimer's is the main suspect in the murder of her best friend). The writing was interesting--consisting of some notes from the main character Jennifer's caretaker, children, and the murdered friend Amanda, but mainly from Jennifer's POV, skipping around in time, but also skipping around from good memory day to hardly memory at all. It sounds good, right?The ending was kind of a letdown. **spoilers ahead!** I didn't get enough of these friends' relationship, so when you find out that Amanda knew about Jennifer's husband stealing money, meh, I didn't care that much? And when you find out that Amanda was hassling Jennifer about the money I still didn't care much. And I started to feel like Amanda was a jerk. Because Jennifer's husband is dead and Jennifer has Alzheimer's. I mean, seriously, what do you expect her to do, Amanda? Anyway, Jennifer's daughter Fiona goes to chat with Amanda to tell her to back off and Amanda gets all preachy with her too. So now I'm like, Bitch, get over it. Fiona feels like that too because she shoves her, knocking her down and killing her. Okay, that isn't good. So now I feel like, okay, let's punish Fiona somewhat. I mean, she did kill somebody, even if she was annoying. But the detective, having now discovered the truth, decides, eh, nothing's fixing Amanda's dead situation and all, so let's just drop the case. Um, she was kind of all over Jennifer when she suspected her, but now that she knows it's Fiona's fault, we drop the case? I know she's sweet to her mom and all, but um...that's wrong. Hello? Can we see this is wrong? I'm so confused. What is this book? There's not enough conflict and character- and relationship-building to be a dramatic novel. The conflict that is thrown in there (the money) felt half-assed. The whodunit element felt like, um, I don't care because nothing was properly built up enough. And now I hate Amanda, Fiona, and that detective. I don't like walking away from a book hating nearly everybody. Including Powell's. Bleh.

  • Sue
    2019-05-13 22:31

    This novel chooses an unusual perspective for its narrator and, in my view, accomplishes it well. Dr Jennifer White is a retired orthopedic surgeon, self-retired, apparently, due to self-recognized signs of developing dementia. All the action of the novel is seen through her eyes, filtered through her changing brain. There is a central mystery, a murder, and all the various personalities and plot points are revealed but in completely non-traditional ways through the fragmented thoughts and words of this deteriorating person, struggling to maintain herself and her world.The mystery is not as important as the portrait of the person and the illness, what Alzheimers and other dementias do to the person, the personality. Having worked with many people with dememtia over the years, the portrait presented by LaPlant seems to capture the essence of what I've observed well. At the same time she captures the struggle of people around the doctor, those who love her, those trying to help, those who really don't care, once again all through the doctor's eyes. I guess I'll wonder how close LaPlante has come to how those patients have viewed me.Highly recommended.

  • Carol
    2019-05-22 17:29

    Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante may just be the talk of the summer. I read it in one sitting, it was that riveting. Sixty-four year old Dr. Jennifer White retires from her orthopedic practice when she discovers she has early on-set Alzheimer’s. When her old friend is found murdered with mutilated hands and missing fingers, Dr. White becomes a prime suspect. What could be a run of the mill murder mystery becomes a complicated story of a woman experiencing rapid dementia and declining memory. I can only liken it to experiencing a horrible nightmare over and over as we follow Dr. White’s thought process in this first person narrative. The story goes backward, forward and round and round in an attempt to give us the whole picture; yet in a voice that so confused that sometimes we feel our own memory is failing us. With a deceased husband, two children and a caretaker also on board, Dr White’s story is fleshed out and we eventually understand what happened. I fear that calling Turn of Mind a mystery may lose some readers and what a loss this would be. If you were able to read Still Alice by Lisa Genova, frightening as the topic of Alzheimer’s can be, then don’t miss Turn of Mind. Disturbing but thought provoking, it’s a different take on the topic of dementia and its many manifestations.

  • Karen
    2019-05-02 17:25

    Interesting premise, but ultimately over-hyped. Grim throughout, with no glimmer of anything. The twist was surprising, but overall, I was just glad to be done with this. I was quite interested in the "whodunit" part of the plot for the first half or so of the book, but the relentless deterioration of the main character made that seem unimportant by the time the murderer was revealed.update Oct. 4, 2014: check out Elizabeth is Missing for a novel with a somewhat similar storyline executed in a much more satisfying way.

  • Gale Martin
    2019-04-30 21:44

    What an incredibly ambitious book. Very brave piece of fiction. Perhaps the craft evident in this book is of little interest to non writers, but what an incredible undertaking to tell a story from the POV of woman succumbing to the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease. The story began in first person, moved to second person as the illness progressed, and finally to third person, to show that Dr. Jennifer White was no longer an integrated personality. Brilliant. Such a surprising but wholly believable ending. Wonderfully thoughtful and important work.

  • Patricia Williams
    2019-05-06 20:22

    Another really good book. Could not put it down. I was not sure about the book at the beginning. The writing style is very different and it's told through the voice of the patient with dementia and through her notebooks she keeps to help herself remember things. But I got used to it and read this book in 3 days, very quickly for me. It was a really good story with a mystery. I can't begin to understand how this author got so into the head of someone with dementia. I have dealt with this in my life and it is always surprising. Every day is different for the person with this disease. Definitely recommend.

  • Nicole
    2019-05-07 19:26

    I won this book from a GoodReads first read contest, and the subject intrigued as soon as I received it, I started to read it. The first thing that threw me off was the style of's a line or two, then a space, then another line or two. And anytime the person is thinking, the thoughts are written in italics...which seems easy to follow, but sometimes I found myself bored with having to switch voices so often and skip over spaces on the page. I suppose this is a small thing to be irritated by, but I was :-PAlso, I think this book could have gone a lot farther into the emotions of it, but instead, this story seemed to be more about some murder and whether or not the main character had done it and just didn't know she had. I was expecting a NORMAL life, regular everyday people, dealing with the effects of dementia on an older family member, and the effect it has on a normal life...but the murder tale sort of took the reader away from that...and it wasn't even that in depth.It was written grammatically correct, and in flowing English, but I was just left wanting MORE after reading this book. When I had reached the last page, I actually found myself saying out loud, alone, in the dark, "That's it?"This author has good potential, she just needs to write a much more enthralling story that EVERYone can relate to.

  • Cynthia
    2019-05-07 14:40

    Dark DiseaseMurder is nothing compared with losing yourself which is what is gradually happening to top surgeon Jennifer White as Alzheimer’s drags her under. Her best friend of many years is murdered and she has to keep reliving it each time her son or daughter, her caretaker or detectives retell it. Then there are her lucid moments. She keeps a journal in order to jog her memory. Others write his or her version of the truth in it as well. The problem is their agendas differ. Her son has medical power of attorney, her daughter financial and they each try and convince her to give them both powers. Since she can’t remember her reasoning for her decision she’s unsure what to do if anything. She also has flashbacks to her marriage. She remembers being widowed but can’t make sense of the different versions of their relationship. Was he a loving, loyal husband and if so why did she have flashes of darker scenarios? And what part if any did her best friend have in all this? Why was she murdered? Most importantly why do the cops suspect Jennifer? The pacing of “Turn of Mind” is wonderful and the denouement has some nice twists. A fun book.3.5/5

  • Jeanette
    2019-04-25 14:42

    I give the author due credit for realistic portrayal of what it's like to have dementia, and what it's like for those trying to care for a person with dementia. As for the story, the delivery is just too random and scattered. When I reached the end, I was left with that "HUH?" feeling that makes a novel unsatisfying.

  • Marita
    2019-05-14 14:39

    Author Alice LaPlante enters the mind of alzheimer sufferer, Dr Jennifer White, and takes us on a terrifying journey.We follow Jennifer as her mind disintegrates, and it is frightening that she retains her intelligence, but that it is her memory that goes. "I listen carefully, I think this is important, but the words disappear into the ether the moment they are spoken." For me the most horrific aspect is that in lucid moments she is aware of what is happening to her, but has no control over her memories or sense of time and space. "I remain aware. An unanesthetized patient." "No more deterioration. To stop this descent. What I wouldn’t pay. What I wouldn’t give." She finds herself more and more isolated as she no longer recognizes people: "I am a visitor from another planet, and the natives are not friendly." To complicate matters a close friend had been murdered. What does Jennifer remember about that, if anything?As this poignant tale unfolds we suffer with Jennifer as she regresses, is being patronized and is exposed to indignities: "Trussed like a chicken. Denied the right to move my bowels in private." Eventually she finds: "Each day slower than the one before it. Each day more words disappear. The visions alone endure."

  • Julie Christine
    2019-05-16 19:38

    Dr. Jennifer White is losing her mind. Literally. Her brain's cells and blood vessels are decaying, coating the vibrant organ of her consciousness with clumps of dying and dead tissue. This brilliant woman - an orthopedic surgeon, mother of two grown children, and a recent widow - is losing her mind to dementia. I began Turn of Mind an hour before bedtime and finished it shortly after breakfast the next day. In between I slept, swam, showered, and ate my oatmeal, but all other moments were devoted to turning the pages of this astonishing, wrenching book. The narrative is relayed through Jennifer and via the notebook in which her caretaker, Magdalena, her children Mark and Fiona, and her friends and colleagues record their conversations with and observations of this vibrant woman whose light is dimming under the cloud of Alzheimer's. In the first pages, the novel's structure was off-putting. When I flipped through and saw that the entire book was a series of short paragraphs at most, with pages of one line sentences, I doubted its ability to hold me with a story of complete characters and compelling plot. But that doubt was quickly dispelled. Alice LaPlante displays masterful writing by using her primary character's point of view to show the horror of dementia. As readers we are not passive observers of Jennifer's disintegration. We are in her head, seeing through her eyes, feeling her confusion as reality wavers like a room filled with funhouse mirrors. LaPlante allows us to laugh, as Jennifer pokes fun at her disease (Top 10 Signs You Know You Have Alzheimer's, #2: You keep discovering new rooms in your house). We are Jennifer as she cunningly slips past her minders to have barefoot adventures in her Chicago neighborhood, not feeling the cold, not fearing strangers who loom from the darkness, not minding that we don't have money to pay for the meal we have somehow eaten at an Italian restaurant. We feel both outrage at and empathy for her children, who take advantage of their mother's diminished awareness, yet who also try to protect her. The conversations Mark and Fiona have with Jennifer, when they know she will not remember what was said, are sometimes terrible, sometimes hilarious, and always heartbreaking. Propping up the story like a cold steel bar is its central plot conflict: the unsolved murder of Jennifer's neighbor and best friend, Amanda. The investigation of Amanda's death is never far from anyone's mind, except Jennifer's, who has to be told over and over that Amanda is dead. Their history unfolds in fleeting memories that knit together to show a complicated, often adversarial, relationship between two intelligent and strong-willed women. I am in awe of a writer who can combine a complicated topic that demands extensive research with a classic murder mystery, present it in a jarring, atypical format using the voice of an unreliable narrator, and still create a multi-dimensional story of fully realized characters in a mere 300 pages. I can't wait to see where Alice LaPlante takes us next.

  • mark
    2019-05-12 21:35

    Turn of Mind is classified as a “Literary Thriller.” I wouldn’t call it that; I call it a “First novel by a creative writing teacher,” which is a category I favor. There isn’t much to the plot (despite the blurbs), which is a murder mystery, and not much suspense as to who dunit or why. (see story map)Turn of Mind is a story about Alzheimer disease, memory, and strong and powerful, professional (a doctor, professor, & detective), hateful (The protagonist, Dr, Jennifer White, even hates the therapy dog.), bitter, resentful women, their husbands, children and lovers (who pretty much share those characteristics); and the intersection of those forces and persons. Funny that Alzheimer’s isn’t mentioned on the jacket or the blurbs, anywhere. But “… a crazy-smart narrator in a family drama that is a brilliant murder mystery,” is. The writing is “creative.” In other words, different - in it’s approach to story telling. I found it difficult but not too difficult. The “crazy-smart narrator” is a 64 year old retired surgeon who is losing her memory but “tells” the/her story via her notebook and memory, into (=the notebook) which are embedded conversations with characters, both past and present, represented by not quotation marks, but by italics and double spacing and sometimes first person “I” declarations, but no names. Tricky? Cute? Clever? Annoying. There are eight primary characters, none of whom I liked. They lie and steal and cheat, mostly; and argue while under the pretense of friendship and love; “That’s it, isn’t it. Too much happiness. You’re envious. A foul-weather friend.” (My quotes. Pg. 132) What they are is - wealthy and accomplished, but unhappy and deceitful and we don’t really know why other than that’s just the way they are. So what do we learn? That losing your memory is not a good thing, not pleasant for anyone involved – family, friends, colleagues, caregivers. But we don’t learn why someone becomes afflicted with Alzheimer’s, nor any compassionate way to deal with it. Which is okay, maybe there are’t any - answers. My take-away was this: I am so glad my father, who is 91, is still clear in mind and able to live alone and has a good and caring female friend who is close by, and can drive him to appointments; and they go out to restaurants and watch movies and talk politics and read books. I won’t be recommending they read this one.Fall 2011

  • Mary Chrapliwy
    2019-05-09 22:46

    The story of a doctor suffering from Alzheimers told from her point of view. This book was completely heartbreaking.As an RN, I've dealt with my fair share of patients with dementia (including Alzheimers type - there is more than one type of dementia). Many times I would look at a patient clearly trying to formulate what he or she wanted to say as well as those who clearly were trying to reach back into their minds for some memory that sits right on the edge of the mind, like a term that lays on the tip of the tongue. I've also seen clear recognition on a good day, and abject misery and an inability to relate to others on a bad day. I'm not sure how much research LaPlante did for this book, but it range very true to my experiences from the outside looking in.As a writer, I'm also attuned to technique, voice, and point of view. For 75% of the book LaPlante wrote in first person point of view (I). During the last 25% of the book LaPlante changed to second person point of view (you). It was a little jarring at first - I went back quite a few pages to make sure my assessment was correct, and it was. While the second person point of view - a difficult one for writers to master - was very well done, LaPlante would have been wise to remain either in first person point of view or write the entire book in second person point of view. A reader should never be jarred out of the story and the change in point of view did just that.Still, this is a very touching, heartbreaking book that also contains a mystery that you don't know the answer to until the very end of the book. That kept me up reading late at night, a worthy test of a book's writing and content.

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-05-18 16:27

    One can quickly run out of adjectives describing this novel but I will use chilling and heartbreaking. The reader follows Dr. Jennifer White, age 64, former orthopedic surgeon, as she sinks in the grip of dementia. This story is brilliantly related as she lapses in and out of reality, remembers farther and farther back, secrets of the past are revealed as the filters in her mind disintegrate and her mood changes become more pronounced. She is also being investigated for the murder of her best friend by a woman police detective who refuses to give up, believing that if she talks to Jennifer on the right day the truth will be revealed.

  • Vaso
    2019-04-26 22:41

    Η Τζένιφερ είναι μια πολύ επιτυχημένη χειρούργος, η οποία πάσχει από Αλτσχάιμερ. Αναπολεί λοιπόν τον τρόπο ζωής της, τη σχέση της με τα παιδία της, τον πεθαμένο συζυγό της και τη σχέση της με την καλύτερη της φίλη, την Αμάντα, η οποία βρίσκεται δολοφονημένη. Η αστυνομία, υποψιάζεται την Τζένιφερ, λόγω του ακρωτηριασμού που υπέστη το σώμα. Το μυαλό της Τζένιφερ, της παίζει παράξενα παιχνίδια και σταδιακά, έχουμε τον εγκλεισμό της Τζενιφερ σε ειδικό κέντρο. Θα έλεγα ότι είναι ιδιαιτέρως ψυχοφθόρα η ανάγνωση και συγχρόνως η εκδοχή της ζωής, όπως τη ζει και την εκλαμβάνει ένας ασθενής αυτής της νοσου.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-17 21:42

    A uniquely entertaining murder mystery. LaPlante's portrayal of the prime suspect's escalating dementia is gripping, unnerving, and utterly brilliant.--Lisa Genova

  • shukri
    2019-05-10 16:41

    3/5 starsThe more thrillers I read the more similar they are to me. The first half of this book was a solid 5/5 stars I read through that first 45% so fast. A older adult has dementia and is accused of killing her best friend? Like what the fuck that sounds like a good book. Well it's not. The second half was so damn boring I literally skimmed through it and nothing relevant happened. The third part it started to pick up and it was getting good. But damn what really happened was such a fucking let down, I was so disappointed and for this pointless reason. Trash. I don't recommend.

  • Kaitlin
    2019-05-06 22:22

    I ended up actually not finishing this one because it just didn't really appeal. I read the first 50 pages which introduced me to the main character, a surgeon with Alzheimers, and followed her day to day life after the death f a best friend. Having Alzheimers was clearly a large issue for the main character because not only can she often not remember the little things, she frequently forgets her friend is dead and has to relive the sadness of discovering it. When it turns out that three of the fingers on Amanda's (the friend) hand were removed surgically, the main character becomes a suspect, and presumably the book goes on from there.For me, I just didn't enjoy this. I found it too broken and static and I just didn't feel like there was a real tension. I am sure the depiction of Alzheimers may be true for some patients, but for me as a reader it just lost the tension and drama I wanted from the story and I ended up being rather cold with it. I would have much preferred a book that was from a different perspective I think.In the end, this one doesn't get a true rating as I didn't finish it, but I would guess maximum I would give it would have been around 2*s anyway.

  • Jill
    2019-05-05 14:45

    Wow! Debut author Alice LaPlante takes an enormous creative risk by narrating her first book through the voice of a 64-year-old retired female surgeon who is in the throes of dementia, and her risk utterly pays off.This is a pulse-quickening, heart-wrenching tale, seen through the eyes of Dr. Jennifer White, who on any given day, may be lucid and competent, sly and untrusting, unsure and frustrated, or even catatonic. I have never felt as if I were inside the mind of a person with Altzheimer’s, and the insights and complexity of this portrayal alone is worth the read.The first line of the story is “Something has happened.” What has happened, we learn, is that Dr. White’s great friend, Amanda, has been found dead with four of her fingers surgically amputated. Dr. White is a person of interest, since her field of interest is surgery of the hand. (“Not for me the hearts, the lungs, or the esophagus…I want the hands, the fingers, the things that connect us to the things of the world.”) Interestingly, this is the part of the book that is showcased by the publicist and is possibly the only weak link of the story. The backstory of Amanda reveals an unpleasant, manipulative and possibly narcissistic woman; it is hard to understand why the friendship endured.Far more interesting – and fortunately, the bulk of the novel – is the story of Dr. White herself. We learn that she has endured an imperfect marriage, that she has not been the best of parents, that even now, she must deal with two adult children who – as they say – have “issues.”Turn of Mind constantly keeps the reader on edge, starting with the basic question: is Dr. White guilty of murder? Can either of her children be trusted? Can she be trusted? What is reality, anyway? Can the past and the present co-exist? What happens when a brilliant mind is compromised? The book centers on the question of identity, all right, but it is not the murderer’s identity as much as it is the protagonist’s identity, which is constantly shifting.At one point, the complex police detective – another well-fleshed character – observes, “People think it’s just forgetting the keys…or the words for things. But there are personality changes. The mood swings. The hostility and even violence. Even from the gentlest person in the world. You love the person you love. And you are left with the shell…”As Jennifer White moves relentlessly towards that shell-like state, as her mind disintegrates, she still clings to bits of reality with scalpel-like insights. It’s not a perfect book, but it’s an inventive one, filled with heart, focused on how insubstantial reality can be. Highly recommended.

  • Kate
    2019-05-19 14:47

    I had such high hopes when I read the description of this book! And let me begin by saying that I actually couldn't stop reading it. However, it didn't really deliver what I had hoped.First of all, you will be hard-pressed to find any likable characters in this story. Even the main character, Jennifer, who suffers from Alzheimer's , and whose point of view is the voice of the novel. Part of me wonders if Alice LaPlante did this intentionally in an effort to make readers believe that any of the characters might have been involved in the murder of Amanda, around which the story takes place.Because the story is told from Jennifer's point of view, as her dementia worsens, the narration gets more and more distorted and confused. I didn't have a problem with that at all. In fact, I thought it made the storytelling much more interesting. One thing that I did have a problem with was the dialogue,sometimes in the present and sometimes remembered. Since so much of the novel was told from the perspective of a person with dementia, it could get a bit confusing. During the times when we were actually getting dialogue between characters, it would have been nice to have some more tangible information to go on. But instead, almost every conversation between characters was full of innuendo and implication and I wasn't always sure what point the speaker was trying to make. Despite the fact that I had some misgivings, I simply could not stop reading this because I was dying to know about the events surrounding Amanda's death. At the end of the book, the answers were revealed, but the resolution was not all that interesting.This was a strange one. I found myself reading it almost compulsively, yet I was unsatisfied with it in the end.

  • Carol
    2019-05-05 19:42

    I loved this book. If you look at the cover, the head is obscured by what seems to be a fog and the fog is pearl like in tones. That is the perfect cover for this book. Dr. Jennifer White, an orthopedic surgeon is experiencing early dementia. She “retired” early from her work and hired a caretaker, Magdalena to live with her and take care of her daily needs. Her husband, James, has already passed away and left her with her two adult children, Mark, age 29 and Fiona, age 24. The pearl like drape envelopes her head on the cover of the book just like dementia covers her memories of people’s faces, names, past events and only allows few sparkles to come through like the medical terms that she learned so well. This is so scary and she feels useless in getting back what she lost.Jennifer keeps a journal to try to help her remember things that she forgets. The book starts off with pages from her journal and with spaces behind the entries like her mind’s search for memories that are no longer there. Through her journal we learn about her past with her parents, her husband and different relationships with her son and daughter.Her 75 old girl friend, Amanda has been found murdered. Her friend lived fairly close to her and some clues appear later in the book that disturb. Jennifer can’t remember that it has happened so she is reminded over and over again by different people.Jennifer’s relationship with Amanda is more like a sister to sister relationship with constant arguing included than a close friendship. It is a relationship that can sooth and destroy at the same time. Jennifer’s husband, Amanda’s husband and the children are all tied up in this mystery of who killed Amanda. But this book is not only a mystery; it is a telling of the destruction of the brain through the time with dementia. When I first read about this story, I thought it would be extremely difficult to write but Alice LaPlante has succeeded extremely well. I could barely stop reading this book, being so engrossed by her imitation of growth of dementia and later the mystery. She presents well developed characters and puts in twists that I had no way of expecting. This story shimmers and is luminescent with all the fractured perceptions of dementia. It is a pearl of a book.I recommend this book to anyone who is interested dementia, Alzheimer’s and mysteries.I received this book from GoodReads but that in no way influenced my review.

  • Patty
    2019-05-04 19:48

    Do you ever read a book that makes you feel sad? Turn of Mind is about Dr. Jennifer White, a 64 year old orthopedic surgeon who specialized in hand surgery and she now has Alzheimer's. It is oddly written so that sometimes it is difficult to tell whether she is having a thought, a memory or actually speaking to another person. It is told in three parts, living in her own home, living in a nursing home, and later with her dementia more escalating towards the end of her life. The book is classified as a mystery. This mystery is a friend of Jennifer's 3 doors down is found dead in her own home with four of her fingers surgically removed. The question is why would Jennifer kill her best friend Amanda and remove her fingers? Did Jennifer kill her Amanda?Jennifer has two children, a boy and a girl, and a live in caretaker. Her husband is deceased. Through Jennifer's memories we learn of her life and relationships throughout her life with her husband, her best friend Amanda, and her son and daughter, Mark and Fiona. During the investigation into Amanda's murder we learn about the complexities and depth of all her relationships and how they are all intertwined with each other. You don't need to know anyone with Alzheimer's to feel sad while reading this book, but I guess the sadness is elevated if you have a more intimate knowledge of someone suffering from Alzheimer's. The story line is well thought out and written. I liked the parts that told me about Jennifer's expertise in the field of orthopedic hand surgery. It was a very good book, a mystery, informative about Alzheimer's, hand surgery, relationships, jealousy, contempt, the entirety of one's life, and it made me feel sad that this is how her life ended. It's fiction.

  • Erin
    2019-04-27 16:45

    Interesting little semi-mystery (it's less a whodunit, more a character study of the suspects and the victim). The twist here is that our titular character, Jennifer is a renowned hand surgeon recently forced into retirement due to early-onset Alzheimer's. We walk with Jennifer (I had a hard time with this name for some reason. Maybe because she's my mother's age and I tend to think of "Jennifer" as a name for my contemporaries, not hers. I feel the same way about one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercials where the elderly woman's name is Julie. "Julie" and "Jennifer" aren't names for the older set in my narrow little mind.) as the disease progresses and as she tries to deal with the loss of her faculties, the investigation of the murder of her neighbor and best friend (where Jennifer is the chief suspect), her children, both of whom are incredibly problematic and with her memories of her late husband. LaPlante does her characters justice - no one is very good and many are quite irritating and/or horrible people....just like life. Early-onset Alzheimer's was perhaps done a bit better in the great Still Alice and the mystery really isn't much, but that isn't the point, either. I tore through it (finished in a day) so it was a page-turner for me and well done.

  • Christine
    2019-05-15 17:26

    S helemaal op het einde ineens...

  • Connie
    2019-05-04 15:25

    Dr Jennifer White, a retired orthopedic surgeon specializing in hands, is horrified to learn that her best friend, Amanda, was killed and four fingers were surgically removed postmortem. She is questioned repeatedly by the Chicago police, and reacts with the same surprise and sorrow each time. Jennifer has Alzheimer's Disease and has no recollection of the event.The reader is inside Jennifer's head for much of the book as the Alzheimer's Disease progresses. Jennifer has a complicated, difficult relationship with her children, and they must increasingly take on the role of caregivers. They also have their own demons to deal with. We learn about the family through the entries in the journal that Jennifer keeps to help herself remember her days, as well as through conversations and Jennifer's memories.Jennifer was a brilliant doctor, and she still has lucid moments when she diagnoses people she meets, sometimes just taking notice of their symptoms in her mind. She is very proud of her professional credentials, and constantly corrects her caregiving aides to call her Dr White. Her sense of humor about her situation still comes through the haze of Alzheimers.Amanda was both her best friend and neighbor. But there were times when they had strong disagreements, or when Amanda betrayed Jennifer's trust by divulging her secrets. Amanda had a strong sense of morality, and the two women did not always view the world in the same way.One of the police detectives had lost her partner to early-onset Alzheimers, so she is especially sensitive when questioning Jennifer about Amanda's death. Although the mystery of Amanda's demise runs through the book, it is not the main point of the story. It is primarily an engaging character study of a woman with Alzheimers as the disease progresses.

  • Elaine
    2019-05-15 20:21

    All the reviews of this novel glowed. Customer reviews and Editorial ones. How interesting to attempt to portray the world through the mind of a brilliant woman with dementia. I am the caregiver of an Alzheimer's patient and I know how fragmented life can be for him, how his mind slips from one path to another, and then how sharp and lucid he can be. I could hardly wait to read this book.Then, after about 50 pages, I could hardly wait for it to be done. Part of the problem was that nobody was likeable or even interesting. Maybe Amanda,the murdered woman might have been,although she is described as cruel. The story veers from a surprisingly lucid diary kept by Jennifer, the patient., to her ongoing thoughts, to the caregiver's view, even to a home movie.The book trots out every cliche: infidelity in supposedly happily married couples, children greedy for Mom's money, uncertainty about that money, how it was gotten and how it' s being handled. There's also a ne'er do well son with a drug problem. Somehow, Jennifer's dementia didn't seem real, although LaPlante has covered the deficits laid out in the medical literature.Also, instead of quotation marks or overt mention of where the verbiage is originating, she uses italics and font changes to indicate whose words are whose.Truthfully, as noted above, most people loved this. I didn't. I learned nothing from it and got no new insights into human possibilities.

  • TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez
    2019-05-20 19:39

    Jennifer White may or may not have killed her best friend, Amanda O’Toole. If she didn’t, someone in Chicago wants to make it look like Jennifer did. Jennifer, you see is a sixty-four-year-old, newly retired orthopedic surgeon, and one hand of Amanda’s body was found with four of her fingers surgically removed by someone who definitely knew what he or she was doing.So begins the plot of Alice LaPlante’s debut novel, Turn of Mind. I thought it was an excellent way to draw the reader into the book because Jennifer White suffers from dementia. She can’t remember if she killed Amanda O’Toole or not. She can’t remember if she knows anything about Amanda’s murder. Most of the time, Jennifer can’t even remember that Amanda is dead. And even though Jennifer’s memory is crumbling, something nags at its edges, trying to force its way in, “something that resides in a sterile, brightly lit place where there is no room for shadows. The place for blood and bone. Yet shadows exist. And secrets.”When the police learn that the two friends were heard arguing the very night Amanda was killed, they move Jennifer from a “person of interest” to the primary suspect. As fate – or literature – would have it, one of the police detectives investigating Amanda’s murder had a partner who suffered from Alzheimer’s. This makes the detective – a woman – very knowledgeable when eliciting information from Jennifer, and it makes eliciting that information necessary when it’s learned that Amanda and Jennifer had, not a warm and loving friendship, but one sometimes filled with betrayal and complications, instead. And, when Jennifer’s caregiver, Magdalena, points out that Jennifer no longer has access to any sharp objects, Jennifer, almost gleefully, opens a piano bench stuffed with junk and pulls out a rapier-shape scalpel to show the detective, a scalpel that’s perfect for removing someone’s fingers. When the police detective asks Jennifer why she thinks anyone, even a murderer, would do such a thing, Jennifer replies, “I’m not a psychiatrist," then goes on as if she is: “A hand without fingers can't easily grasp, can't easily hold on to things. It could be a message for someone perceived as greedy, mercenary. Or someone who won't let go emotionally.” Okay. Maybe.Jennifer’s husband has passed away, but she has two interesting adult children living close to her own home in Chicago. Mark describes himself as a “tall, dark, handsome twenty-nine-year-old lawyer, with a bit of a substance abuse problem, looking for love and money in what are apparently all the wrong places.” He reminds Jennifer of her late husband. Fiona, twenty-four, is a tenure-track professor, who describes herself as a “total freak with mother issues.” From the beginning, I greatly preferred Mark, substance abuse problems and all, but Jennifer seems to prefer Fiona. “Her I trust,” says Jennifer. “My Fiona. She places paper after paper in front of me, and I sign without reading.” (Never a good idea. Even if the person offering you the papers is your own daughter.) In order to remain in her lovely, old Chicago house, a house that is only three doors down from the house in which Amanda lived, Jennifer has hired a caregiver, Magdalena. To aid her failing memory, Jennifer labels her photographs. She posts a sign on her kitchen wall that reads, “Live in the Moment.” And, she’s begun keeping a journal, a journal in which she and others – Magdalena, Mark, Fiona – all write. (Interestingly, there are conflicting notes from Mark and Fiona in Jennifer’s journal, and each child warns his/her mother not to trust the other.) The journal’s meant to serve as an anchor in Jennifer's life of confusion and uncertainty and fear, for Jennifer calls dementia “…a death sentence. The death of the mind. I've already given notice at the hospital, announced my retirement. I have started keeping a journal so I have some continuity in my life. But I won't be able to live on my own for very much longer.” Not even with Magdalena around.Jennifer may have had to give up her illustrious career as a surgeon – one day in the OR, she even forgot what a surgical “clamp” was called and asked for “that shiny thing that pinches and holds” – and her volunteer work at a clinic for those without health insurance is over as well, but on good days, at least, she still has her memories. Memories of her late husband, of her children, of her travels to far-off places like St. Petersburg, Russia, and of course, memories of Amanda. It’s through Jennifer’s journal reminiscences, on her good days, that we get to know Mark, Fiona, Amanda, the friends’ husbands, and what life was like for Jennifer prior to the onset of Alzheimer’s. We also get to know Jennifer, and if you’re like me, you won’t be surprised to learn that she was a woman who was highly intelligent, often brusque and dismissive, and at times, formidable. She had the strength to do what had to be done including keeping her marriage together after learning her husband was unfaithful.Amanda, we come to learn, was a highly intelligent woman, too, and rather formidable, just like Jennifer. At times, Amanda was a good friend to Jennifer, but at other times, she competed for Fiona’s attention, and she proved – more than once – that she had a cruel streak. At one point in the book Jennifer calls Amanda “the inflictor and healer of my pain. Both.” Jennifer, according to Amanda, if we can rely on what Jennifer tells us, has narcissistic tendencies. She is, again according to Amanda, a woman who sees herself as “better” than others. “People,” Jennifer says, “who take this to an extreme are called sociopaths, Amanda tells me. You have certain tendencies. You should watch them.”And Jennifer’s own illness is recorded, by her, in her journal, often in great detail:This half state. Life in the shadows. As the neurofibrillary tangles proliferate, as the neuritic plaques harden, as synapses cease to fire and my mind rots out, I remain aware. An unanesthetized patient.As Jennifer’s condition deteriorates and she becomes more and more dependent and childlike, the atmosphere of the book becomes one of palpable fear, and the images grow more and more haunting and unsettling. At night, Jennifer can be found wandering between her own brownstone and Amanda’s, puzzling over the police tape that cordons off her late friend’s living room. The sweltering heat of a Chicago summer is also brought to life in the pages of this book. You can feel the humidity rising and hear the summer insects whirring and buzzing in the air.The visits from the police, of course, continue, and they grow more and more insistent and brutal as Jennifer gives them less and less. Of course, with her mind crumbling as it is, Jennifer can’t stand trial for murder, but if she’s found to have murdered Amanda, she will be sent to a state institution. The stakes are higher than they might seem at first glance.Just as Jennifer is trapped inside a mind that is, in her words, “rotting out,” the first person point-of-view traps the reader as well. Everything is filtered through Jennifer’s unreliable memory, so it’s necessarily fragmented and rather staccato in terms of flow. Some readers will like this while others will be bothered it. I’ll admit, I’m a huge fan of William Faulkner and his long, flowing sentences and paragraphs, so I didn’t really enjoy the fragmentary nature of this book, though I do understand its necessity. Everything, after all, can’t be “long and flowing,” and fragmentary and staccato work well in this novel.Employing Jennifer as the POV character does add tension and a sense of anxiety and immediacy to this narrative. We know the police are closing in on Jennifer, and we also know complete mental oblivion is closing in as well. This “closing in” adds a very claustrophobic element to the novel that serves it wonderfully. The author does have a rather sophisticated, if somewhat affected (at least in this book) prose style, and to her enormous credit, she eschews all sentimentality and never lets Jennifer descend into self-pity.I didn’t fall completely in love with the book, though. While the character of Jennifer is rich and wonderfully complex, I found the other characters less-than-fully-realized, Amanda in particular, and I was terribly disappointed by this lack. True, we “know” the other characters only through Jennifer’s memories and recollections, and Jennifer, of course, is suffering from dementia. She does, however, have her “good” days during which her memory is crystal clear. I felt LaPlante could have given us a fuller picture of the supporting characters on one of Jennifer’s lucid days. Fiona and Mark don’t fare any better than Amanda, and the picture of the women’s husbands is particularly flat.The other big disappointment I experienced when reading this book had to do with the mystery of “who killed Amanda?” Turn of Mind is not a suspenseful mystery by any means, nor is it a genuine “thriller.” The mystery part of this novel is really very amateurishly done. Most readers, I think, are going to figure things out pretty quickly. I know I did, and I’m not particularly good at figuring out “whodunit.” And because the book is being marketed as a “literary thriller,” I think many of its readers are going to be attracted to it because of its “thriller” qualities. Sadly, those readers are probably going to be disappointed.Where this book really shines is in its presentation of Jennifer White and her struggle with dementia. Most of the time, I felt totally convinced that I was reading the “real” journal of a real life Alzheimer’s patient. Jennifer was that compelling and forceful. I especially liked the way LaPlante portrayed her protagonist’s vulnerability. That vulnerability kept Jennifer from lapsing into a caricature of a “tough talking dame.” It kept her credible.Turn of Mind is a bleak, tragic book, and it certainly won’t lift your spirits, so please don’t expect it to. After all, Alzheimer’s is a bleak, tragic affliction. Despite the tragedy, there’s much beauty in the book as well. LaPlante has managed to capture the indomitability of the human spirit amid overwhelming pain and suffering. It’s this quality that lifts the book out of the sea of “every other book about Alzheimer’s sufferers” and elevates it into something more. And thankfully, this wonderful “something more” never fades, even as Jennifer’s mind continues to unravel at an ever-accelerating speed. Sadly, as the book nears its end, some readers might feel Jennifer’s forgetfulness is something of a mercy after all.4/5 (Only 1.5 stars for the mystery, though.)Recommended: Yes, but read this book for the picture it paints of Jennifer White. It’s wonderful. Anyone looking for a good mystery won’t find it here. I do look forward to LaPlante’s next novel. As long as it isn’t a mystery, that is.You can read my book reviews and tips for writers at

  • Sherri Thacker
    2019-04-26 17:28

    The story of Alzheimer's and a murder is told from the view from the doctor herself, at only 64 years old, who has the dreaded disease, Alzheimer's. My own mother has Alzheimer's and I could relate to ALMOST EVERY SINGLE THING this woman felt and spoke about (All but the murder). It was uncanny how real it seemed. A very heartbreaking story but so beautifully written.

  • Kelley
    2019-04-27 16:46

    This book was very weird and I wonder if it is an accurate representation of Alzheimer's. I really enjoyed it though.