MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Summary and book reviews of The Turnaround by George Pelecanos

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
    Paperback:
    Apr 2009, 304 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Diane La Rue
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

On a hot summer afternoon in 1972, three teenagers drove into an unfamiliar neighborhood and six lives were altered forever.
Thirty five years later, one survivor of that day reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. But another survivor is now out of prison, looking for reparation in any form he can find it.
The Turnaround takes us on a journey from the rock-and-soul streets of the '70s to the changing neighborhoods of D.C. today, from the diners and auto garages of the city to the inside of Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, where wounded men and women have returned to the world in a time of war. A novel of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory and violent redemption, The Turnaround is another compelling, highly charged novel from George Pelecanos, "the best crime novelist in America." -Oregonian.

ONE

He called the place Pappas and Sons Coffee Shop. His boys were only eight and six when he opened in 1964, but he was thinking that one of them would take over when he got old. Like any father who wasn't a malaka, he wanted his sons to do better than he had done. He wanted them to go to college. But what the hell, you never knew how things would go. One of them might be cut out for college, the other one might not. Or maybe they'd both go to college and decide to take over the business together. Anyway, he hedged his bet and added them to the sign. It let the customers know what kind of man he was. It said, This is a guy who is devoted to his family. John Pappas is thinking about the future of his boys.

The sign was nice: black images against a pearly gray, with "Pappas" twice as big as "and Sons," in big block letters, along with a drawing of a cup of coffee in a saucer, steam rising off its surface. The guy who'd made the sign put a fancy P on the side of the cup, in script, and...

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...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Pelecanos raises important questions about racism, friendship, loyalty, guilt and redemption in this tightly written story that leaves the reader pondering these issues long after the novel has been read...continued

Full Review (835 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Diane La Rue).

Media Reviews

The Washington Post - Patrick Anderson
[A] mature story, told with easy mastery, and no one who cares about Washington and about excellence in American writing should miss it.

he New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
The home truths he examines here...are familiar themes of his gritty Washington-based novels. But he has rarely pushed these articles of faith to such painful extremes or seemed so optimistic about the chances for redemption.

The New York Times - Janet Maslin
He tells a tight, suspenseful story. And he packs enough of a wallop to put The Turnaround on an express bus of its own.

Library Journal
Starred Review. A virtue of this fine novel is the author's evident love for his characters, even the lost ones.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Pelecanos shows the distinction between those capable of making that turnaround and those who can't, while exploring a common humanity that goes deeper than differences of skin color and home turf.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The result is a beautifully written and thought-provoking novel of crime, friendship, aging and redemption.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Fisher House Program
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 ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by George Pelecanos

If you liked The Turnaround, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Glass Hotel
    The Glass Hotel
    by Emily St. John Mandel
    Vincent—a young woman named for American poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay—is ...
  • Book Jacket: Saint X
    Saint X
    by Alexis Schaitkin
    In the opening pages of her debut novel, Alexis Schaitkin introduces the reader to an idyllic beach ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bear
    The Bear
    by Andrew Krivak
    The Bear feels like a novel I've been awaiting for years. I received the book and its message with ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Island of Sea Women
    by Lisa See
    Lisa See's latest novel, The Island of Sea Women, follows the lives of Mi-ja and Young-sook, two ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Austen
    by Gill Hornby

    A witty, poignant novel about Cassandra Austen and her famous sister, Jane.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    I Want You to Know We're Still Here
    by Esther Safran Foer

    "A vivid testimony to the power of memory."
    - Kirkus (starred review)
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Henna Artist
by Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Mostly Dead Things

Mostly Dead Things
by Kristen Arnett

"Hilarious, deeply morbid, and full of heart."
- BuzzFeed

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

E, My D W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & 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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.