Friday, May 8, 2009

Review: The Turnaround & Giveaway

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 -- Back Bay Books


Thanks to Miriam at Hachette, I recently discovered a new-to-me author George Pelecanos. As a one-time resident of the DC metro area, I have been familiar with his work both as an author and a writer/producer of The Wire for a number of years; but for some reason, I had not picked up one of his novels until a few weeks ago when I read THE WAY HOME -- you can read my review here. I enjoyed that novel a great deal and immediately picked up THE TURNAROUND. I found that I liked this one even more!

There are so many great things to say about this novel, but I was blown away by how Mr. Pelecanos set the tone for this story. I mentioned earlier that I lived in the DC suburbs for over 10 years and even worked in the city for quite a few of those. While I didn't really spend too much time in the places he writes about, I can attest that his descriptions of the area are incredibly real. Even if you aren't familiar with these places, I have no doubt that you will see them vividly through his words and even "feel" as if you are there. In addition, I love how Mr. Pelecanos incorporates music and songs into this story. Not only do the songs help set the tone of the book, but they also help make the characters more real and allow the reader a better understanding of them.

Perhaps my favorite part of this novel was in how Mr. Pelecanos handled the entire wounded veteran storyline. I love how he showed that Walter Reed isn't this horrible place that is so often covered in the news (having said that, it is in desperate need of renovations.) He portrayed the employees as being very noble people who truly make a difference in these soldiers' lives. In addition, I can't say enough about how Mr. Pelecanos portrayed the wounded veterans. I think we all appreciate what these young men and women have done for our country; however, I know I often times forget the cost it can be to them personally. Mr. Pelecanos did an incredible job of showing how strong these soldiers are and how optimistic and hopeful they continue to be as they are faced with adversity.

I read both THE WAY HOME and THE TURNAROUND in preparation for the BlogTalk Radio show with Mr. Pelecanos that was took place in mid-April. I was fortunate enough to get to ask him a question or two! And while I liked both books, I really appreciated them after listening to Mr. Pelecanos talk about his writing. I found his passion towards the characters and the social issues that he discussed to be admirable. I was also so impressed with how much research he conducts while writing his novels. Plus, I thought he was just a brilliant man who constantly was saying insightful things. I now consider myself to be a big fan and can't wait to go back and read his earlier books.

Although I really liked THE TURNAROUND, I'm not sure that it a book that is going to appeal to everyone. Mr. Pelecanos' books are very real and often times "gritty," so I tend to think that men will probably enjoy them more (however, I hate to make a general statement like that.) I will say that the male characters in his books are extremely complex and well-developed, and I know that they would be fascinating to analyze and discuss. I also think it would be very interesting to delve into the themes of change and redemption. There is a reading group guide available if you'd like to take a look at the issues in this novel, or you can read an excerpt of Chapter 1 here.

If you are interested in winning a copy of THE TURNAROUND (I just happen to have received an extra one), please leave a comment telling me if you've ever read a book by Mr. Pelecanos or if you've seen The Wire. For an extra entry or two, you can blog and/or tweet about this contest with a link back to this post. I will accept entries until Friday, May 22nd at 11:59 p.m.; and I will announce the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. or Canada mailing addresses only. Good luck!

30 comments:

Beth F said...

Great review! I have The Way Home ready to read and now I'm looking forward to it even more. Please don't enter me in the giveaway -- I have way too many books to get through as it is.

Molly said...

I just looked at this book over the weekend and decided it is one that I will definitely want to read at some point and time. I would love to be entered in your giveaway.

No, I have not read any of the author's work before - but I am very curious to see if I can still listen to the interview on blogtalk radio. I always gain such an appreciation for an author when I hear him/her discuss the writing process.

Mstermind1 at gmail dot com

bermudaonion said...

Don't enter me. I started this book and was enjoying it and got sidetracked and have never gotten back to it. I need to do that soon!

Bridget said...

Hi! Just posted about this on Win A Book. Don't enter me.

Jessica Kennedy said...

I put this in my sidebar!

I wouldn't mind reading this. I can handle "gritty"! :)

Kitten22 said...

This looks great! Please enter me!

I've yet to read one of his books or see The Wire. Although, now that you've mentioned The Wire, I'm curious and will have to check it out!

BookCrossingKitten22[at]gmail[dot]com

Kitten22 said...

I tweeted about this!

http://twitter.com/BookingKitten22

BookCrossingKitten22[at]gmail[dot]com

bridget3420 said...

Don't enter me in the contest. I just finished reading this book yesterday and loved it!

carolsnotebook said...

Please don't enter me, I just wanted to add that I loved it, too.

Nicole said...

This does sound like one my husband would like. He's very particular about the books he picks and he tends to gravitate toward male authors. I'll enter this one for him! (Neither of us have read any of this author's books).

Ashley said...

Interesting book! I have never heard of Pelecanos or seen The Wire. But please enter me! booksobsession(at)gmail(dot)com
Thanks.

S. Krishna said...

No need to enter me, but we're reading The Way Home for book club. I'm definitely looking forward to it!

Kat Bryan said...

While I'm familiar with the author's name, I don't remember ever reading any of his books and I haven't seen The Wire.

A Stationary Addict said...

Awesome review! I have yet to read one of his books & sadly, I haven't seen The Wire.

After reading your review as well as everybody's comments everyone seems to agree this book is great! Would love the chance to experience it too.

Take care!

mark said...

Hi, Julie- Nice blog! I have read 2 of Pelecanos books, The Big Blowdown & The Sweet Forever and I've been meaning to read more. I'm also a huge fan of The Wire and have loved all 5 seasons. I'd like to enter the giveaway for The Turnaround.
My name is Mark, e-mail:
freebs59@sbcglobal.net

Amy said...

Don't enter me obviously, but I've been meaning to get back to you and tell you that I think you're right about the male readership thing. For example, there aren't any significant female characters in this book.

Maybe if I was from the area, I would have enjoyed this book more, but as it is, the plot simply didn't hold me.

Anna said...

Sounds like a book I'd enjoy. Thanks for the review and giveaway. I linked to the giveaway in my sidebar.

--Anna
diaryofaneccentric at hotmail dot com
Diary of an Eccentric

Belinda M said...

I have not read any books yet by george pelecanos nor have i seen the wire. I would very much love the opportunity

"Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Fun:
CoolCanucks.ca"

gaby317 said...

I haven't had the chance to read anything by George Pelicanos or watch the Wire. It'll be something new and interesting for me!

Pls count me in!

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

gaby317 said...

I've posted your contest on my blog's sidebar. thx!

gaby317nyc AT gmail DOT com

http://startingfresh-gaby317.blogspot.com/

Irene Yeates said...

I have never read one of George Pelecanos' novels before, but after reading your review, I know I would like to read The Turnaround. Please enter my name. Thank you.

cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

Marie said...

I have not read any of his books or seen The Wire -- but everyone says his books are great so I'd really like to try one.

marielay@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

never read his books and never seen the wire.
mel at skbphoto.com

kim said...

I have seen the Wire and it was a bit "cringe" worthy for me as I'm not used to gritty, but then i got real into it and loved it. I'd like to check out this book! Thanks
zoeyredbird9@gmail.com

Rebecca Cox said...

I have never read a book by this author, or seen the Wire. I would love to read it though.
rebecca.cox@charter.net

Wanda said...

I've heard of George Pelecanos but haven't had the chance to read anything by him yet. I haven't seen The Wire. Please enter my name in your draw.

Esme said...

I would like to read this one. thanks.

northernmama-northerngirl said...

I have not yet read one of his books nor seen The Wire but I will be reviewing one of his books this summer and would love to read this one as well!
northern_mama@yahoo.ca

canadiangiveaways said...

I've never read any of his books, but I love crime novels and would like to give him a try.

Alexa said...

I haven't read one of his books yet or seen the Wire, but I'd like to give them a chance.

lovinfitch@aol.com