The Fisher House Program: Background information when reading The Turnaround

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The Turnaround

by George Pelecanos

The Turnaround by George Pelecanos X
The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2008, 304 pages

    Apr 2009, 304 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Diane La Rue
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About this Book

The Fisher House Program

This article relates to The Turnaround

Print Review

War veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are coming back with injuries that would have been fatal a few years ago. Medical advances mean that more young men and women are returning home with serious brain injuries and requiring artificial limbs. These vets need long periods of rehabilitation. To assist them and their families, the Fisher House Program was created. New York real estate magnate Zachary Fisher donated money to build Fisher House 'comfort homes' on the grounds of each of the major military medical centers in the United States which enable families of vets to live close to their family member while he or she undergoes rehabilitation.

Anywhere from eight to twenty-one suites exist in each home which military families can use at no charge. The families share a common kitchen area, dining area and there are living areas with play rooms for young children. Each family has their own bedroom suite with a bathroom.

There are paid staff at each Fisher House, but volunteers play an important role - they cook, clean, assist with childcare and sometimes just provide a sympathetic ear.

Comedian Kathy Griffin is a big supporter of the men and women in the military, and has brought attention to Fisher House by featuring a trip she made to the house at Walter Reed Medical Center on her Bravo TV show, "My Life on the D-List". She took viewers behind the scene, and talked with some of the families, many of them young men and women barely out of high school, with young children of their own. The injured vets whom she talked with reflect the same people Pelecanos writes about in The Turnaround. They personalize their artificial limbs with artwork, and many of them have a wicked sense of humor.

It was a moving experience for Griffin, as well as for the viewer, who was able to see the sacrifice made by these brave young people on behalf of their country.

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Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

Article by Diane La Rue

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Turnaround. It originally ran in September 2008 and has been updated for the April 2009 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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