Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dementia - And a Mystery...

       Turn of Mind

In TURN OF MIND, Dr. Jennifer White, main character and narrator, is a 65 year old woman. She is accused of murdering her best friend. She has dementia and doesn't remember doing this. Did she do it and just forget? Is she capable of murdering her best friend?

Written from Jennifer's point of view, it was a little hard to get into. Perspectives and points of view changed frequently, so keeping track of what was going on took some attention - just as, I'm now thinking, it is with a person with dementia.

I was interested in the premise and wanted to see how it played out. It took me several tries to get into it, partly because of the fragmented narration, but mostly because reading it brought up feelings and memories of my own mother's dementia.

Though my mother died three years ago, Jennifer's inconsistent remembering, her gradual yet inevitable forgetting of who her children were, and her almost constant confusion mirrored my mother's. LaPlante did a good job of depicting a person with dementia, as well as the people in her life.

That aside - and I realize those were a couple of strong paragraphs of what was hard about the book - I enjoyed the story. Alice LaPlante crafted the narrative with skill, a challenging task when working with a character with dementia. She kept the mystery going, as well as letting us get to know her and the people in her life. These are people we got to know, even as Jennifer was losing her connections to the people she loved.

Did she murder her best friend? That I'll leave you to find out when you read it!

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