Book Reviews

Reader Review: "Turn of Mind"

by Techeditor (Romeo, Michigan): After reading three undesirable books in a row, I hit gold with Alice LaPlante’s TURN OF MIND. It’s not a happy book. It may even break your heart. But it’s well written, and its subject matter, at least some of it, hit home and should concern anyone who has a mother.


TURN OF MIND is such a unique literary thriller. It is told from the point of view of Dr. Jennifer White, a 64-year-old orthopedic doctor who specialized in hand surgery. White is now unlicensed because she is suffering from dementia. (Sixty-four seems like early onset to me, but what do I know?) Some days are better than others, but it’s getting progressively worse, horrifyingly worse.


White’s good friend and neighbor, Amanda, has been murdered. Also, for some reason, four of her fingers have been removed in a surgically precise way. Of course, this points to White. But two other members of White’s family, her son Mark and daughter Fiona, both adults, also may have had reason to murder Amanda.


Throughout TURN OF MIND, we learn more and more, through White’s sporadic remembrances, about Amanda, Mark, and Fiona. Who is guilty of Amanda’s murder, and why did they do it? Why were her fingers removed? Does White ever remember?


More than that, the reader sees the story as a dementia victim, one who is getting progressively worse, would see it. White’s remembrances are always confused, and she can never articulate them, at least not so they are understandable.


What will become of White?


My only criticism of this book is its lack of quotation marks. There is no good reason for this. LaPlante italicizes when someone other than White is speaking. It was sometimes difficult for me to tell whether White was speaking or thinking. In my opinion, quotation marks add to a book’s readability, and it is rude for an author not to use them.


TURN OF MIND is LaPlante’s first. She wrote it a few years ago, so you may have already read it. If not, do.

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