Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Very Scary Book

No strange creatures attacking the world, no psycho characters, no evil-minded ghosts -- it's not those kinds of scary. It's scary because the book goes deeply into the mind of a person with Alzheimer's and that disease COULD happen to any one of us. Personal fear is the scary that is this book.

"Turn of Mind" by Alice LaPlante Atlantic Monthly Press 305 pages $24

Jennifer White, MD is a retired (due to the disease) orthopedic surgeon. Her specialty is hand surgery. She is 64, widowed and has an adult son and daughter. The book is written entirely from White's point-of-view.

The device used to keep the reader in the loop is that visitors to her house leave her notes in a dated log if she is unable to see them. Her caregiver, son and daughter do the same thing.

What is terrifying is the suddenness with which she can switch back from forgetfulness to full, professional mode as a doctor -- who wonders if her husband will be home from his business trip after she finishes at the hospital. Her husband has been dead for a number of years.

She is a cold woman whether from the nature of her profession or her own instincts. When her best friend, Amanda, who lives down the street is brutally murdered and four of her fingers surgically removed after she is dead, White becomes a suspect. The two women have had a very difficult friendship for 40 years.

The writing herein is a real tour-de-force and I recommend the book.

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