The Plot (from the book jacket):
"As the story opens, Jennifer's life-long friend and neighbor, Amanda, has been killed, and four fingers surgically removed. Dr. White is the prime suspect in the murder and she herself doesn't know if she did it or not. Narrated in her voice, fractured and eloquent, a picture emerges of the surprisingly intimate, complex alliance between this pair--two proud, forceful women who were at times each other's most formidable adversaries."
The story is split into three different sections, and with each progression the disease progresses as well, indicated by a change in point-of-view. What begins in first person narrative eventually moves to the second and third person, showing the growing disassociation in Jennifer's mind. Told in a combination of dialogue, thoughts, journal entries, memories, and general scene description, the big question is: was this combination of techniques successful? The answer, for me, is yes and no.
I liked the pace of the book--the snatches of conversation, glimpses of the past, and the perceived reality, but other things seemed too fabricated and pulled me away from the story being told. The point of view, for example, was a little wonky. It wasn't simply first person, second person and third person, because scenes were often described clearly, when Jennifer definitely wasn't experiencing them that way. It was more like a first-person-limited-omniscient or something.
It was an enjoyable read, something different and unique, yet still forgettable. Perhaps because of the distance created from the premise of the story, most of the conflict seemed superficial. I didn't sympathize with any of the characters, and in fact found most of them to be annoying--especially the view on marriage which was a first-rate downer. I need hopeful circumspection mixed in with my depressing reality.
You learn, you grieve, you forgive, or at least you accept. That's why we've lasted. That's how we've endured. The secret of a happy marriage: not honesty, not forgiveness, but acceptance that is a kind of respect for the other's right to make mistakes. Or rather, the right to make choices. Choices you can't be sorry for, because they were the right ones. So I never apologized. And so the matter died between us, but with it something else. Not enough to bring down the tree of our marriage, but a bough did fall that didn't grow back.Title: Turn of Mind
Author: Alice LaPlante
Published: Grove Press 2011
Read For: Powell's Indiespensable selection
My Rating: 3.5 stars
|Eligible to be nominated!|