A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Jennifer White is a 64-year-old hand surgeon suffering from dementia that is gradually growing worse, forcing her to retire from her practice. Meanwhile she has been accused of murdering her best friend, Amanda, and the police are pressuring her to remember exactly what happened, but of course she can’t. In fact, she often doesn’t remember that her friend is dead, and becomes upset anew when told.
Most of Turn of Mind is in the first person, so we follow Jennifer’s thoughts as she weaves back and forth in time and in and out of reality, struggling to make sense of what is happening. During the course of the book we gradually learn about her marriage, her son’s and daughter’s childhoods and adult lives, her career as a surgeon, and her sometimes contentious friendship with Amanda, all revealed as she confuses the past with the present.
This suspenseful story captured my interest with its attempt to show what it might be like for someone experiencing dementia. I also wanted to find out who killed Amanda and why. My only complaint is that the truth was spilled out in a rush at the end, as though the author were in a hurry to end the book. I would have liked it better if she had revealed the truth of what happened gradually, more in keeping with the pace of the rest of the novel.
Reviewed by Nancy