turnaround1The Turnaround by George Pelecanos

From the back:

On a hot summer afternoon, three teenagers drive into an unfamiliar neighborhood—and six lives are changed forever.

Thirty-five years after that harrowing day, one survivor reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. But another survivor has a different plan, and seizes the moment to claim reparation in any form he can find.

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 diners and auto garages to the inside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It is a novel at whose heart is an emotionally charged story of fathers and sons, wives and husbands, loss, victory, and violent redemption.

My thoughts:

The racially-fueled crime happens early in the book, during the 70’s. The story picks up again with the teenagers now adults, some with kids of their own. Pelecanos does a wonderful  job of showing how “the incident” affected all their lives and their families. He shows that though are pasts do affect our future, we are in control of our destinies, we make the choices that lead us down our paths in life. It’s a great book, dealing with race, family, the after-effects of violence, and salvation. He does make some commentaries on the current war while talking about the wounded at Walter Reed Medical Center, but it’s not a focal point of the novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I felt like the relationships were portrayed honestly, with their high points and low points, griefs and joys. I will be looking for more of Pelecanos’ novels, including The Way Home, which comes out next month.


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