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Turn of Mind
A first novel that is both lyrical and shocking.
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Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

Created: 05/18/12

Replies: 11

Posted May. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all? What is the universality of Jennifer White's dilemma? How is it a metaphor for the human condition?


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

The topic of Alzheimer's is extremely disturbing to all of us. It's difficult to imagine the terror of realizing you're losing your memory, during that stage before you've slipped too far away to register you're even alive at all anymore.

We all occasionally forget words, lose our keys or inadvertently miss an appointment from time to time but forgetting people who are close to you is another thing. That's what I think is so universal, that we do all experience little lapses and it sometimes causes that jolt of fear how it would be to lose our mind.

As far as its relation to the human condition, we're very fragile creatures. None of us can be sure we're immune from dementia, or any disorder, no matter what recommended precautions we take. We're at the mercy of fate.


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

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RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

The complete helplessness to do anything about this awful disease. The complete helplessness one feels once it has taken hold of the mind. The loss of all that has made us who we are. I, personally, can't think of anything worse.


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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christy

Join Date: 05/22/12

Posts: 41

RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

I loved how LaPlante sends us with Jennifer through her confusing tangents and misplaced memories---this 'scattered' feeling reflects the human nature of thinking and how quickly we flit from thought to thought---and while this is 'universal' to free thinking and speaks to the randomness of thoughts, the way in which LaPlante writes this into Jennifer's inner thoughts makes it seem possible to experience her 'disorientation' in a sympathetic (and terrifyingly real) way.


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susann

Join Date: 04/28/11

Posts: 10

RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

The author did a very good job of describing the "process" of dementia, in that there are times that the person is entirely lucid and aware, and other times that are anything from not being able to think of the right word to not recognizing the people close to them. And the progression over time that makes those bad times more frequent, until that is all there is. Probably the worst part is the knowledge that it is happening to you, and trying to deny it or cover it up (which, of course, can't be sustained for long). It is very sad to see intelligence and personality slip away.


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
gaili

Join Date: 10/13/11

Posts: 9

RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

The helplessness and lack of control is something many of us fear as we age. Another issue is trust in those entrusted with our care. The secrets and lies, the family dysfunction (even in an educated upper class home), etc. make this a universal theme. As more people develop Alzheimer's, will there be adequate care for them?


Posted May. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
rebajane

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 128

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RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

I find now that I am approaching 60 that every episode of forgetfulness is magnified. It makes me stop and wonder if the lapses are the beginning. I do a lot more crossword puzzles!


Posted May. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
poornimaa

Join Date: 05/16/12

Posts: 37

RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

I found myself thinking about my own mortality (and my husband's) as I read this book. Would we be as graceful as Jennifer even as she struggles with disease? These are difficult issues to consider but important ones.


Posted May. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jacquelynh

Join Date: 06/14/11

Posts: 34

RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

There is so much hype these days about dementia and Alzheimer's that many of us who are aging watch for it in ourselves. To me, LaPlante's book could be frightening to someone who has Altzheimer's in their families. Can this happen to me? It also helps us to understand the helplessness of those in the midst of Altzheimer's. Can we provide more support with understanding?


Posted May. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lisag

Join Date: 01/12/12

Posts: 298

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RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

In thinking more about my own family, my grandmother - who died in her 90s - would talk to people who weren't there when she was alone. But when she was amongst family she knew us and would speak and understand what was going on. Is this dementia? She could control it, to an extent, so I'm not sure it is. Perhaps when she was alone she was living through important events in her life, allowing herself to talk back and maybe even resolve some things. We're fortunate she was lucid with us through the end but I can't quite explain why she was able to pull herself into the present when she wanted to. It probably goes back to the many degrees of dementia and how amazingly complex the human brain really is.


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

Join Date: 10/14/11

Posts: 23

RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

I don't know about metaphor for the human condition part - but the helplessness of knowing there is nothing that can currently be done for this disease is very alarming. I had a 50 year old friend die of Alzheimer's. My father had a former roommate whose wife lived with Alzheimer's for 50 years. I watched a friend be the caregiver for her Alzheimer's husband for 10 years... it is very difficult to find any silver lining in these stories. Well, there but for the grace of God, go I... now where did I put my keys? And I know I've met that person, but I sure cannot recall the name right now... very scary moments as we think - is this the beginning? But a worse thought is what if it's your child... LaPlante's book spoke the truth about the disease and she is to be commended for writing a book about such a frightful disease that many readers can say they "loved the book."


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

Join Date: 05/24/11

Posts: 26

RE: Even if you have not experienced Alzheimer's at close hand, what is there in LaPlante's book that speaks to us all?

Previous answers have hit upon the important issues...the fear of losing control. There is the old question of would you rather be blind or deaf...but I would be more concerned about not remembering or having my mind...


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