Monday, April 13, 2009

Review: The Turnaround by George Pelecanos (and a giveaway)

There are some books that are just too gritty for me. By that mean, I mean when I feel like I'm wading through foul language and crass sexual talk to find the story, it's not the book for me. This book was like that.

It seemed like a promising story. The back cover of the book said that it was about a group of men coming to terms with a racial incident of their youth. And it is that story in many ways. But Pelecanos seems to want to create the true environment of these young men which is not pretty. That's not to say there isn't some redemption in the story...there are some tiny bright spots...rays of hope. It was just way too much work for me to get there.

Pelecanos also wrote for the show The Wire which I believe is gritty in the same way. I've really been wanting to watch The Wire, but my enthusiasm for that has been dampened.

Anyway, this is the story of five men who were involved in an incident in their youth. After this incident occurred, these men went their separate ways but run into each other again and begin to come to terms with the effect that night had on their lives.

Rating: 2.5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Lots of language, crude talk, drug use, violence, etc.

George Pelecanos will be on Blog Talk Radio on April 16 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. I have five copies of this book to give away courtesy of Hachette Book Group USA. To be eligible, you need a United States or Canadian mailing address, no PO Boxes. Leave a valid email address and I'll draw the winners on April 26, 2009. Thanks everyone!



J.S. Peyton said...

I live in D.C. and I've always felt bad about not having read any Pelecanos. I'm sorry you didn't like this all that much. Still, I think I'd like to have a go at it.

bermudaonion said...

Don't enter me - sorry this didn't work for you.

Beth F said...

Based on the show The Wire, I'd expect graphic and gritty! I have a copy of the book, so please don't enter me.

Anonymous said...

Amy, this really isn't Pelecanos's best book, and they all are definitely are full of crass language and cruelty. What I "like" I guess I would say is that, in my opinion, he does give you an understanding of what goes on in that world. And a lot of people are in that world. One of my sisters (with one of those adorable nieces I don't get to see!) is a policewoman in D.C., and Pelecanos's descriptions are so close to what she describes! She talks about little kids with "empty eyes" all the time. And I always say to her, what happened to these people - how did they get that way? With Pelecanos, I feel like I get a little hint at what goes wrong in their lives. Maybe his insights will even inspire someone with some ideas to help! My sister sees the worst, and she thinks there is no hope. I always send her Pelecanos books so she at least knows there is a reason for all this. (of course, it's easier for me, 3000 miles away....)

Unknown said...

Interesting. This is the next book on my TBR once I finish The Scarecrow by M. Connolly, which is rough, but not full of language and sex.
I found Beat the Reaper to be like your review here, it had a story, but tons of gratuitous sex and unnecessary language. But I"ll still read it because they sent it to me!

The Book Resort said...

Pass on the gratuitous XXX. lol.

CherylS22 said...

Please enter me in the drawing - I like Pelecanos & hope this book meets my expectations.


Annie1 said...

I would love to read this!


Melissa said...

I don't mind gritty and would like to give this one a try.

Literary Feline said...

I would like to enter to win a copy, Amy. I've read one of Pelecanos books in the past and I really liked it. Plus, I'm a big fan of The Wire.

Honestly, I'm not sure you would like The Wire. I personally don't mind the grittiness and foul language, but if you are sensitive to it, it might be best to steer clear.

Literary Feline said...

Oops! Forgot to leave my e-mail address.

literaryfeline AT gmail DOT com

Anita Yancey said...

Nice review. Sorry you didn't care for this book. But I would like to give it a try. I have liked some of his books in the past, so maybe I'll like this one. Please enter me. Thanks!


tsslug said...

Pelecanos books are grest.
Please include me!

Jackie B. said...

I am not easily offended by foul language(or much else for that matter) in my reading materials. The actual storyline of this book sounds interesting and I would love a chance to read it.

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