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Turn of Mind
A first novel that is both lyrical and shocking.
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Was it necessary to have a secondary murder plot? I found it distracting from main focus of book

Created: 05/28/12

Replies: 7

Posted May. 28, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
toby

Join Date: 05/23/12

Posts: 1

Was it necessary to have a secondary murder plot? I found it distracting from main focus of book

I admired the author's skill in allowing the reader to enter the mind of her main character Dr. Jennifer White as she progressively deteriorated into dementia. It was horrifying to share with Jennifer her initial awareness of her disease. At first keeping a diary of her thoughts but inevitably losing more and more current memory and sense of time, Jennifer increasingly confuses past and present until her inevitable mental destruction. The sense of loss was felt by this reader through the skill of LaPlante's writing. The reason I did not give this book 5 stars was because I felt that the secondary plot of having a murder mystery was not necessary in this moving novel. It distracted me and I felt it hurt the unity of the theme of the novel which focused on dementia and it's effect on others.


Posted May. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marganna

Join Date: 10/14/11

Posts: 23

RE: Was it necessary to have a secondary murder plot? I found it distracting from main focus of book

I found the murder a way to move the story along with a strong story point. It let the characters swirl around this secondary theme to central theme of Alzheimer's - by using that it let the dementia unravel. I've had very serious topics discussed with humor to keep the audience engaged - in fact, my daughter was once saved by recalling a lecture and how to cope with a crisis - would she have remembered as a mature young woman if the lecturer had not used humor - she was 13 at the time of the lecture. So the murder served a purpose - however, I think it was shallow and not believable. Technique good - application poor -


Posted May. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Was it necessary to have a secondary murder plot? I found it distracting from main focus of book

I thought the murder plot added the needed tension. I'm not sure the book would have been as compelling without some sort of hook, something besides the main plot of Jennifer's decline due to Alzheimer's. I was anxious to find out if Jennifer would have actually performed such a horrible act, but more importantly, why.


Posted May. 30, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 138

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RE: Was it necessary to have a secondary murder plot? I found it distracting from main focus of book

I think the murder was necessary to keep the novel interesting. I loved the author's ability to write about dementia and her voice but I don't think it would have been enough to make a "story". Perhaps if it had been a memoir


Posted Jun. 07, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
debracoley

Join Date: 08/11/11

Posts: 69

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RE: Was it necessary to have a secondary murder plot? I found it distracting from main focus of book

To me, the dementia was the secondary story-maybe it was as lisag suggested, a red herring, perhaps.
It added to the story, but yet the gruesome, almost diabolic, murder kept me reading...


Posted Jun. 07, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
edie

Join Date: 04/05/12

Posts: 22

RE: Was it necessary to have a secondary murder plot? I found it distracting from main focus of book

I didn't see the murder as a secondary plot nor did I find it distracting. The mystery surrounding Amanda's death was very much a part of the mystery surrounding Jennifer's fragmented mind. I remember thinking when I first became engrossed in the story, what a wonderful example of the unreliable narrator. Not only could I not trust her because of the dementia, but also because she is a complicated character very capable of intentional deception.

So the questions: Is she capable of murder? Could she have killed this woman whom she both loved and hated? If so, was it because she is a victim herself--a victim of Alzheimer's that so alters her sense of reality that she forgets her husband is dead? Or did is she culpable? committing the crime during one of her more lucid moments when her wit is still sharp and her mind capable of recalling the intricate details of a long ago surgery?

We look for and anticipate the answers because we want to understand the strange turn of her mind. The murder plot is key to that understanding.


Posted Jun. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jwbriggs13

Join Date: 05/09/12

Posts: 27

RE: Was it necessary to have a secondary murder plot? I found it distracting from main focus of book

I like edie's response (below) to this question. The combined story lines are quite compelling. The murder puts all of the characters off balance to one degree or another. I found questions that arose because of the murder to be important to the overall story, and they added to my enjoyment of the book.


Posted Jun. 28, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 82

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RE: Was it necessary to have a secondary murder plot? I found it distracting from main focus of book

I did not feel the murder plot to be secondary at all. It was integrated into the story and added the tension that we felt reading the story. If we had just been reading a story about a woman with alzheimers it would have been interesting but not compelling as this story was. The murder was essential to show the depth of tragedy from the disease.


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