Turn of Mind – Alice LaPlante

Recently, I’ve managed to pick up a couple of books on mental health issues as it is something I see on a daily basis with work but also because the mind is such a mysterious and fascinating organ of our body and I liked the premise of this book. Read ‘Turn of Mind’, a mystery novel about a surgeon, Dr. White who is in her sixties and suffers from dementia. The book details her progression into the disease where she cannot remember her children, often thinks her dead husband is around, leaves home and walks the streets barefoot yet can go into her old clinic and see patients and diagnose them. The book gives one a good sense of what the disorder can do to a person and how difficult it can be for the patient and the caregivers. There is a twist to the story (what’s a good novel without a twist?) as there has been a murder in Dr. White’s neighbourhood and the prime suspect is the doc. So the book becomes a page turner as you try to find out whether the doctor murdered her friend or not and why. There are also her adult children, one of them who often runs to mommy to bail him out of financial troubles.

All in all, an interesting book,often sad when you read about this brilliantly intelligent woman who is literally losing her mind but remains somewhat unaware of it. The writing style is sometimes frustrating, as the story moves all over the place and is hard to follow (just like a demented person’s mind). The book is written is through the eyes of a person with memory loss issues, somewhat disjointed, which is a clever way of writing but again not the most appealing as there were times when I just flicked through pages as I would get tired of the details and wanted to get to the meat of the matter.

Excerpt:

“Fiona gave a little half smile. And how do you experience it, Mom?

As termites eating away at my emotions. Nibbling it at the edges at first, then going deeper until they destroy. Robbing me of my chance to say good-bye. You think , Tomorrow, or next week. You think you still have time.

But all the while the termites are doing their work, and before you know it, it’s no longer possible to feel the loss honestly or spontaneously. Most people start acting at that point. I’m not capable of that. Hence, no funeral. Hence, no tears. “

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