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Turn of Mind [Hardcover]

Alice LaPlante
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 5 2011
Is the perfect murder the one you can't forget or the one you can't remember?

Dr. Jennifer White, a brilliant former surgeon in the early grips of Alzheimer's, is suspected of murdering her best friend, Amanda. Amanda's body was found brutally disfigured — with four of her fingers cut off in a precise, surgical manner. As the police pursue their investigation and Jennifer searches her own mind for fractured clues to Amanda's death, a portrait emerges of a complex relationship between two uncompromising, unsentimental women, lifelong friends who were at times each other's most formidable adversaries.

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“For those of a certain age, death is far less frightening then dementia, the central issue of this brilliant debut. Told in the first person by a physician slowly descending into darkness, Turn of Mind is relentless and chilling.”
—The Globe and Mail

“LaPlante does a great job of building suspense, finishing with a twist that most won’t anticipate.  Beyond being just a satisfying summer read, this book is an examination of a long, complicated friendship, and the capacity of two people who love each other to hurt each other, too.”

The Stone Angel meets Memento. . . . A smart, strong debut novel. . . . Timely and compelling.”
—Winnipeg Free Press

“LaPlante has created an unforgettable portrait of the process of forgetting.”
—The Washington Post

“Artful, ambitious and arresting.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

“An impressive first novel.”
—Publishers Weekly
“Fascinating on so many levels.”
“A haunting story masterfully told.”
—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
“[An] absorbing debut novel.”

About the Author

ALICE LAPLANTE teaches creative writing at San Francisco State University and Stanford University, where she has a Wallace Stegner fellowship. Her accolades include a Transatlantic Review fiction prize. She has been published in Epoch, Southwestern Review, and other literary journals, and her nonfiction has appeared in Forbes ASAP, Discover and BusinessWeek. She has written four books of nonfiction. This is her first novel. She lives in Palo Alto, California.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not enjoyable Jan. 27 2012
By Novel Girl TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I selected this book from an Oprah Magazine list of thrillers.
This book is so NOT a thriller, or even a good story.
It is more a study of dementia. It is painfully boring, and I did not even finish it, which for me is rare.
Definitely feel cheated for the money that I spent on this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, but sad... Sept. 2 2011
Jennifer is a 65 year old surgeon, specializing in operations repairing tendons, muscles etc of the hand. As we get to know her, she is in the last stages of dementia and on her way to Alzheimer's. The story is told from Jennifer's point of view, and from entries in her journal (or log book) from her daughter, son and her caregiver. There are also flash backs from her past life (pre-dementia). Added on to this deeply woven story is the death (murder?) of Jennifer's best friend, Amanda. The police are sure Jennifer killed Amanda, and they are determined to place the blame on a woman who can't remember her own name some days.
I found this book hard to read because is it so sad, but hard to put down because I had to know what came next. There is the history of Jennifer's life, the difficult relationship with her son, the loss of her husband and Amanda. Then there is the life she is living now: one day she knows her husband has passed and she is crystal clear - the next day she has to suffer the loss of people she loves (loved) again and agin. She knows she on her way to the corner store to get groceries, but is shocked to find people freaking out that she has no coat or shoes in the dead of winter and is wandering around around. Then there is the mystery of Amanda.... Did Jennifer kill her, if not who did? The lead police officer is determined to find the truth and she has her own back story. The ending is great.. can't tell you about it - ya just gotta read for yourself!
I loved this book. So intricate and well woven, I couldn't wait to find out what came next for Jennifer. I found it to be a scary reality as well, there is a chance that any of us may end up like Jennifer, so be kind to those we love who may be onthe way out. Good job Alice LaPlante!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I definitely enjoyed this book. The style of writing and even the formatting draws you in. I had read 50 pages without even realizing it. The story is told from Jennifer's point of view, and some people may find it difficult to adjust to it... Since Jennifer has dementia, information can be choppy - coming to you in the view of how she is doing that day. If she doesn't remember something that happened - that information will not be provided. It's a different perspective, and really draws you into the character, by forcing you to piece things together the same way she would, learning as you go. The second chapter drags a little and it becomes more focused on the disease that the murder or even the family, but it is still interesting. Jennifer's family history sounds a little dark, but she is very endearing. Your impressions of people will change as the story goes on. There's a twist! And it didn't come in the form I thought it would.
I'd recommend this to everyone.
And if you've read this and enjoyed it I'd highly suggested "Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson" or "Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn"
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