Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

The novel is a story that contains a murder, but the solution of the murder mystery is not what captivates. Amanda, a nasty lady meddling in other people’s dirty laundry, has been murdered, killed with a blunt object…

The Main Character

The retired orthopedic surgeon Jennifer, Amanda’s closest friend and neighbor, is suspected, accused and later punished for the murder. Yet, that is not what the book is about.

The main character Jennifer suffers from Alzheimer’s and she does not know if she has committed the murder. All interrogations are similiar and most of the time Jennifer does not even understand that her friend is dead. Jennifer lives her life in short memory sequences, sometimes in the present, but most often in the past.


The author, Alice LaPlante, has told a story about a debilitating disease, and a murder that gives you great doubts about the justice system. She has written the story in a unique way, but it still makes me think of Faulkner. She writes in fragments, thoughts, dialogues, diary entries all mixed up. And no! It is not messy or distracting at all. It is brilliant and the more you get inside Jennifer’s broken and disjointed consciousness the more it feels like you get to experience what any person with Alzheimer’s must be living with all the time. It is a unique experience and it makes me appreciate life and my good health.

Unique Storytelling Technique

LaPlante also has a special way of telling the story. It starts in first person, continues in second person, and ends with in third person. Surprisingly it is not frustrating, and it actually feels natural.

If anyone had told me about the book and described how it was written I doubt that I had even read it. Now I did not know anything, the review copy arrived in the mail and I liked the idea of what I thought it would be about, i.e. the difficulty to convict criminals with dementia or other mental disorders and the injustice that can occur.

Standing Ovations

I am sure that some readers will overlook it and think it is filled with pity and misery and that it is too deep to be entertaining. Wrong! It is neither, and it is actually quite funny at times.

The author’s debut novel is excellent and I give it standing ovations.


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