As I continue editing my 50+ blog posts about caregiving for my mother, who has Alzheimer’s—hoping to turn them into a collection of essays for publication—I’m also reading an inspirational book. The New York Times bestseller, Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante, is a fictional account of an orthopedic surgeon’s decline with Alzheimer’s. It’s also a murder mystery. Brilliant book.
Since I’ve titled my essay collection Tangles and Plaques (read this post to see why) I was excited to see LaPlante’s use of those terms in her book:
This half state. Life in the shadows. As the neurofibrillary tangles proliferate, as the neuritic plaques harden, as synapses cease to fire and my mind rots out, I remain aware. An un anesthetized patient.
Every death of every cell pricks me where I am most tender.
Ouch. LaPlante’s book is difficult to read, but I can’t put it down. Especially since she’s combined the psychological aspects with a murder mystery. Who killed Jennifer’s best friend Amanda?
It’s also interesting to me that LaPlante’s protagonist, Dr. Jennifer White, was raised as a Catholic, and her most prized possession is an icon of Saint Rita of Cascia, the patron saint of lost causes.
Alzheimer’s. Murder mystery. Icons. I’m only halfway through the book, but every page contains treasures.