Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{July 7, 2011}   Recently Released: Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

From Goodreads: 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.


Grove/Atlantic, Inc. has been extremely gracious to allow me to read a copy of this novel, via Netgalley, which released on July 5th, and I’m sorry to say that I didn’t care for this novel.  Told through the first person narrative of Dr. Jennifer White, the reader is given a firsthand glimpse of  the rapid deterioration that dementia has on the mind.  While anything other than the first person narrative would have left much to be desired within the novel, the narrative itself is extremely heartbreaking and, at times, difficult to follow.  I have never met anyone with dementia, but LaPlante has created an all too real account of what it’s like inside the mind of someone suffering from this disease as they rapidly go from one thought to the next, only to lose the previous one.  

While there is much suspense and mystery surrounding the death of Jennifer’s friend Amanda, I did find the novel overly repetitive at times, which only makes sense since Jennifer is constantly relearning the same information.  However, repetition of events, especially sad ones, isn’t really my forte.  As I like more upbeat, happy novels, this was somewhat of a downer for me, as the treatment of Jennifer by her family, along with her own lapse of memories, creates a depressing tone and left me feeling dejected in the end, especially as the deterioration of Jennifer’s mind increased.  However, LePlante’s revelation of the murderer does make it a worthwhile read–I never saw it coming.  So, if you don’t mind a little repetition and sadness that accompanies dementia, then I recommend you read this novel.  Two and half stars.


et cetera
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