Reading guide for The Turnaround by George Pelecanos

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Turnaround

by George Pelecanos

The Turnaround by George Pelecanos X
The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2008, 304 pages
    Apr 2009, 304 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Diane La Rue

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Discuss the character of John Pappas.  How influential does he prove to be in the life of his son, Alex?
  2. The Turnaround is a story in which many of the characters undergo difficult struggles and large transformations.  Which character do you think learned the most and why?
  3. Discuss the role of family in the novel.  How does the way Alex thinks of family change after he becomes a father?  How strong a force does family prove to be by the novel’s end?
  4. How do the pressures of youth compare with the pressures of adulthood in the novel?  How large an impact does American society in the two eras when The Turnaround is set, the 1970s and the present day, have on how the characters handle these pressures?
  5. The Turnaround is told from the point of view of many different characters.  Who did you find to be the most compelling character, aside from Alex?  Did you find that your favorite character changed after the thirty year interim that occurs in the novel?
  6. Early on James Monroe makes a tremendous sacrifice for his brother, Raymond.  Have you ever encountered a similar sacrifice for a family member in the course of your life?
  7. Cars prove a source of endless fascination for the male characters in The Turnaround, but also a source of major catastrophe.  How do cars ultimately help the characters in the novel find a resolution?
  8. George Pelecanos sets his novels in and around Washington DC.  How does the city shape the events of The Turnaround?  Do you think the city has a stronger presence in the novel when Alex Pappas is a teenager or an adult?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Back Bay Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Women & Power
    Women & Power
    by Mary Beard
    The treatise Women & Power: A Manifesto discusses a scene in Homer's Odyssey in which Odysseus&...
  • Book Jacket: Speak No Evil
    Speak No Evil
    by Uzodinma Iweala
    Young Nigerian American writer Uzodinma Iweala is fast becoming known as a powerful chronicler of ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Sometimes I Lie
    by Alice Feeney

    This brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something a lie if you believe it's the truth?
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.