Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Mind is a Fragile Thing

I just finished two very good books dealing with the human mind and memory loss.  The first is Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante.  I could not put this one down and got to bed a little late (ok, very late) due to reading it one sitting.  The story centers on Dr. Jennifer White, who begins the story dealing with the early stages of dementia.  What's worse is that her best friend, Amanda, was recently found murdered and Dr. White is the prime suspect.  The investigation into Amanda's murder certainly plays a part in the story, but it isn't the focus.  The focus is on what a person goes through when the mind slowly starts to deteriorate.  I found the first-person narrative, told by Jennifer herself, to be intriguing and very believable.  This books is very difficult to classify and probably fits best into psychological fiction with some qualities of a thriller.  It's just a terrific read and I would recommend it to anyone.

It's funny how we read about a topic and find quickly find another title along the same lines.  I found Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson around the same time when I placed the hold on Turn of Mind.  This title also deals with memory loss, this time suffered by Christine.  Her issues stem from an accident that took place twenty years ago.  Christine can remember things from the first twenty-some years of her life, but nothing between when the accident took place to present time.  She wakes up each morning believing she is twenty years younger and single.  Christine's husband, Ben, leaves pictures and notes out for her and describes her situation to her each day.  Christine also gets a call from her doctor each day and he tells her to read the journal she keeps, which fills her in on the details of her life.  She quickly finds that some of what she has been told are lies.  But who's lying to her?  And why?  This book is more of a thriller than Turn of Mind and is another page turner.

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