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The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son [Format Kindle]

Pat Conroy
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Descriptions du produit



The Promise

On June 4, 1963, I walked off the graduation stage of Beaufort High School without a single clue about where I was attending college next year or if I’d be attending one at all. My parents had driven me mad over this subject and neither would discuss it with me further. I had planned to get a job at the tomato-packing shed on St. Helena Island to earn some money if my parents somehow managed to enroll me in a college. But my father received orders to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, for the following year. I didn’t want to leave Beaufort, and I sure as hell didn’t want to move to Nebraska, a place where I didn’t know another human being. I wanted to go to college.

My father had the car packed and ready when I turned my graduation robe in to my teacher Dutchen Hardin, hugged my other favorite Beaufort High teachers and classmates, then fled in tears toward my life in Nebraska. Before I entered the car, I composed myself, dried my eyes, and got in the shotgun seat. The motor was running and Dad threw me a map, saying, “You’re the navigator, pal. Any mistakes and I whack you.” Before a single graduation party had begun, we were already crossing the Savannah River into Georgia. Our journey took us on back roads and through scores of towns that we hurtled by in their sleep. It was the age before interstate highways were common, so most of our trip would take us through the rural South and the farmlands of the Midwest. To my shock, Dad planned to make it a straight-through shot to Chicago, pausing only for pit stops and gas.

“Dad, you sure you want to do this?” I asked.

“Hey, jocko, you a detective?”

“That’s a lot of driving. It might be too much for you.”

“That’s why you’re on guard duty, pal,” he said. “I start nodding off, you rap me on the shoulder to keep me awake.”

During the twenty-four-hour drive, my father fell asleep three times, and I knocked his right shoulder, hard, three delicious times. Once in Indiana, he had failed to follow the curve of the highway and drove the station wagon over a cow guard and into a field heavily populated with Black Angus cattle. When I punched his shoulder, he woke suddenly, dodging fifty cows on his way back to the highway.

“You’d get a court-martial for that one, navigator,” he said.

“I kept all of us alive, Dad. This is getting dangerous.”

We arrived at Uncle Willie’s house on Hamlin Drive, where my mother had flown to the day before with her two youngest sons. Willie lived in a Polish neighborhood that looked like an elaborate card trick to me. The houses going up and down the street from Willie’s were exact duplicates of one another as far as the eye could see. Variation was forbidden, and this neighborhood stretched for miles in all directions. You could sleepwalk out of Willie’s house at night and find yourself lost as you tried to find your way back through a labyrinth that seemed to run on forever. It was an ugly house, as charmless as a Rubik’s cube.

The Conroy kids were sent to the basement, where Uncle Willie had put pillows on the carpet and mattresses all around so we could camp out during our two weeks there. It turned out to be a deadly long visit, with tension breaking out unintentionally between my mother and grandmother, who lived nearby. Grandma Conroy was a harsh-voiced, unstylish woman who could have played a walk‑on shrew in some of Shakespeare’s lesser comedies. I never saw her wear makeup or try to prettify herself, and her dresses all looked like she had bought them from castaway bins at the Salvation Army. To her Southern grandchildren, she seemed to be yelling at us all the time.

“Don’t do that. Get out of the way. Go back to the basement,” she would say to us. It became a joke to my brothers and sisters that Grandpa and Grandma Conroy had no idea what our names were and little curiosity in remedying this lack of knowledge. My father and his brothers played pinochle every day, then went out to catch a Cubs or White Sox game in the evening. My mother was left behind with her seven kids. Since she was terrified of getting lost in Chicago traffic, she could not use the car. When she asked my father to take her and the kids to the art museum, he refused. A fearsome argument broke out and I could feel Mom’s fury rising as each day passed. Dad’s neglect of Mom and her kids and his abandonment of his family by night and day were not sitting well with our pretty mother. The claustrophobia alive in that sad household was turning into a troubled, living thing.

It was Uncle Willie who set off the fuse. I had always liked my uncle Willie, because he was a schoolteacher and had no problem being around kids. He was the smallest of his brothers by far and looked like half a Conroy man as he stood in the middle of his platoon of tall brothers. His nose had been broken so many times in street fights that it gave him the appearance of a harmless bulldog. He was a droll man with a great sense of humor and we’d become golfing buddies on his visits to Beaufort. But Willie had a deep fear of my father that I could sense whenever Dad turned prickly. In his own house, Willie ignored my presence and barely spoke to me. When I offered to go golfing with him, he shrugged his shoulders and said he’d think about it. Three days later he took Dad golfing with some high school buddies of my father’s, but didn’t ask me to come. I never thought the same about Uncle Willie again.

But Willie did ask the combustible question that I think helped to get me into college. I was lingering after dinner as my grandfather and uncle were arguing about Chicago politics. Carol Ann had already joined the kids watching television in what she called “Dante’s Inferno” in the basement. There was much talk about Mayor Richard Daley and the efficiency of his machine. My grandfather was a block captain for Mayor Daley and told a story of a man on his block who balked about promising to vote for the mayor in the next election. “He called Mayor Daley a corrupt Irish son of a bitch,” my grandfather said, laughing at the memory. Grandpa Conroy reported it to the mayor’s people and the man received no garbage pickup for three straight weeks. After his neighbors complained about the stench of his garbage overflow, the poor man appeared on the doorstep to beg for my grandfather’s intercession with the mayor. He even added a small contribution of twenty-five dollars for the mayor’s reelection campaign. His garbage was collected the following day, compliments of Mayor Daley.

“What a great story, Grandpa,” I said. “Dad used to tell us about the great Daley machine, but I never knew how it worked.”

“Are you interested in politics, Pat?” my grandfather asked. I was grateful he knew my name.

“Yes, sir, I sure am. I’m interested in everything,” I replied.

Uncle Willie asked the question that ignited my parents’ unspoken rage at each other yet again. “Where are you going to college, Pat?”

“That’s a really good question, Willie. Where is Pat going to college next year?” Mom said in a voice that was pure acid.

“Shut up, Willie,” my father growled. “It’s none of your beeswax.”

“None of my beeswax?” Willie echoed, not interpreting the signal flares of war lighting up my father’s eyes. “Hell, college starts in two months’ time, Don. If he’s not enrolled in college now, he’s not going.”

“Drop it, Willie,” my father warned again, but now my mother was in the middle of it.

“Pat hasn’t even applied to college because the great wise one over there hasn’t allowed him to do so,” she said.

“Is your kid a dope, Don?” Willie said, studying me for signs of imbecility. “You can still get him into trade school.”

“Shut your yap, Willie, or I’ll shut it for you,” Dad said.

“Shut my yap about what, Don?” Willie yelled back. “I teach school for a living. Pat should’ve been applying to colleges last fall. Our parents didn’t have shit, and they sent all nine of their kids to college. Don’t those Southern idiots have college counselors in their shitty schools?”

“We’ve got college counselors, Uncle Willie,” I said.

“You shut the fuck up and get downstairs with the kids where you belong, asshole,” Dad said to me.

“Let me know how the college search goes, Mom,” I said.

“I told you to shut up,” Dad said, then slapped me as I walked by.

“I will, Pat. That’s a promise,” Mom said. Dad slapped her in her face as my grandfather watched in wordless silence.

That night a fight between my parents rocked through the whole house. Five of us kids were watching TV in the basement when the screaming commenced. I went over and turned the TV off, then turned the lights out and said, “If Dad comes down here, pretend you’re asleep. Otherwise, he’ll start hitting.”

The shouting ended thirty minutes after it began; then the door opened at the top of the stairs and Dad turned on the lights and came halfway down the stairs. When he satisfied himself that we were all asleep, he shut the door noiselessly, so as not to wake us up. The next day, we left Chicago for Iowa as the end of my boyhood moved insanely on.

Dad drove his family to the blue-collar town of Clinton, Iowa, where another of his brothers, Fr. Jim Conroy, served as chaplain in the local Catholic hospital. Uncle Jim was a gregarious pink-faced man who grew temperamental when he was tired and was rumored to pick fights with every bishop he served under during his embattled career as a priest. He became famous for saying the fastest mass in the Midwest, and Catholics flocked to his services when he took over Holy Family parish in Davenport at the end of his career. In my lifetime of listening to lusterless sermons by Catholic priests, I knew Uncle Jim was famous for being the worst public speaker in the Iowa diocese. I never trusted him after he’d slapped me around for a nightmarish six weeks when I went on a fishing trip with him to Minnesota, and I made sure that none of my brothers went anywhere near him.

But I rode with Uncle Jim from his hospital to his home on the Mississippi River that would be the Conroy family home until our quarters were ready for us to move into at Offutt Air Force Base. Uncle Jim confessed to me that his brother Willie had called and begged him to get those seven kids out of his house.

“You guys really got on Grandpa and Grandma Conroy’s nerves,” Father Jim said. “They were driving Willie crazy complaining about the mess you were making.”

Uncle Jim drove across the Mississippi and turned north on a country road that paralleled the river, carrying us through beautiful Illinois farm country. We rode for twenty miles before he turned off to a dirt road, passed several farms, then pulled into the driveway of an insubstantial shack that looked both isolated and forlorn. The house sat on a hill above a tributary of the great river completely clogged with lily pads. You could fish all day and not get your hook wet.

When my mother toured the house, she erupted into another argument with Dad. “This is just great, Don. You’re going to leave your wife and seven kids in this run-down dump with three beds, one toilet, no air-conditioning, no car, no stove, in the middle of goddamn nowhere. Real good thinking, Don. Great planning,” she said, unhinged and wrathful. “There is no TV set, no radio, not a toy for the little kids to play with, not a bottle of milk or a loaf of bread or a jar of peanut butter. Jim, what were you thinking, having us here?”

“Not much, Peggy,” Uncle Jim said. “I’ve never had a family. I just didn’t think it through.”

Dad said, “Okay, kids. Attention to orders. Start getting this place polished up. There’ll be a formal inspection at fifteen hundred hours.”

Of all the disconsolate summers the Conroy family spent following our Marine from base to base, everyone agrees that our summer on the Mississippi River was the most soul-killing of all. We sweltered in a summer heat that was brutal, and the house was so small and inadequate for our tribe that we stumbled over one another and got in each other’s way from morning till night. In the mornings, we woke with nothing to do, and went to sleep because there was nothing to do at night, either.

Uncle Jim was solicitous and as helpful as he could be and provided our only lifeline to civilization and to groceries. Several times a week he would take us all for a swim at a public lake in a nearby town. It was the summer I thought my mother’s mental health began to deteriorate, and I think my sister Carol Ann suffered a mental breakdown caused by that ceaseless drumbeat of days. Carol Ann would turn her face to the wall and weep piteously all day long. Mom appeared sick and exhausted and slept long periods during the day, ignoring the many needs of my younger siblings. The days were interminable and Mom grew more weakened and distressed than I had ever seen her. I asked what was wrong and how I could help.

“Everything!” she would scream. “Everything. Take your pick. Make my kids disappear. Make Don vanish into thin air. Leave me alone.”

In July I got a brief respite when I took a Trailways bus on a two-day trip to Columbia, South Carolina, to play in the North-South all-star game. I’d not touched a basketball since February, was out of shape, and played a lackluster game when I needed to have a superlative one. After the game, Coach Hank Witt, an assistant football coach at The Citadel, the military college of South Carolina, came up to tell me that I had just become part of The Citadel family, and he wished to welcome me. Coach Witt handed me a Citadel sweatshirt and I delivered him a full, sweaty body hug that he extricated himself from with some difficulty. In my enthusiasm, I was practically jumping out of my socks. By then, I’d given up hope of going to any college that fall and had thought about entering the Marine Corps as a recruit at Parris Island because all other avenues had been closed off to me. My father never told me nor my mother that he had filled out an application for me to attend The Citadel. I danced my way back into the locker room below the university field house and practically did a soft-shoe as I soaped myself down in the shower. In my mind I’d struggled over the final obstacles, and there were scores of books and hundreds of papers written into my future. Because I’d been accepted at The Citadel, I could feel the launching of all the books inside me like artillery placements I’d camouflaged in the hills. The possibilities seemed limitless as I dressed in the afterglow of that message. In my imagination, getting a college degree was as lucky as a miner stumbling across the Comstock Lode, except that it could never be taken away from me or given to someone else. I could walk down the streets for the rest of my life, hearing people say, “That boy went to college.” And then it dawned on me that the military college of South Carolina did not preen about being a crucible for novelists or poets. Hell, I thought in both bravado and innocence, I’ll make it safe for both.

Revue de presse

The Death of Santini instantly reminded me of the decadent pleasures of [Conroy's] language, of his promiscuous gift for metaphor and of his ability, in the finest passages of his fiction, to make the love, hurt or terror a protagonist feels seem to be the only emotion the world could possibly have room for, the rightful center of the trembling universe....Conroy’s conviction pulls you fleetly through the book, as does the potency of his bond with his family, no matter their sins, their discord, their shortcomings.” —Frank Bruni, The New York Times Book Review

“In several of his 12 previous books, bestseller Conroy mined his brutal South Carolina childhood—most directly in the book that became a 1979 hit movie, The Great Santini, about a violent fighter pilot and his defiant son. In this memoir, the 68-year-old sheds the fictional veil, taking ‘one more night flight into the immortal darkness to study that house of pain a final time.’ The result is a painful, lyrical, addictive read that his fans won’t want to miss.” People, 3 ½ out of 4 stars
“Despite the inherently bleak nature of so much of this material, Conroy has fashioned a memoir that is vital, large-hearted and often raucously funny. The result is an act of hard-won forgiveness, a deeply considered meditation on the impossibly complex nature of families and a valuable contribution to the literature of fathers and sons.” —The Washington Post

“Conroy remains a brilliant storyteller, a master of sarcasm, and a hallucinatory stylist whose obsession with the impress of the past on the present binds him to Southern literary tradition.” —The Boston Globe

“Conroy has the reflective ability that comes only with age. He has a deeper understanding of his father and the havoc he brought to his family.…But against the backdrop of ugliness and pain, Conroy also describes a certain kind of love, even forgiveness.” —Associated Press

“Conroy writes athletically and beautifully, slicing through painful memories like a point guard splitting the defense….It is a fast but wrenching read, filled with madness and abuse, big-hearted description and snarky sibling dialogue — all as Conroy comes to terms with what he calls ‘the weird-ass ruffled strangeness of the Conroy family.’” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A heady, irresistible confusion of love and hate, ‘one more night flight into the immortal darkness to study that house of pain one more time,’ to prove how low his princes and princesses of Tides can sink and how high they can soar. True Conroy fans wouldn’t have it any other way.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“An emotionally difficult journey that should lend fans of Conroy’s fiction an insightful back story to his richly imagined characters. The moving true story of an unforgiveable father and his unlikely redemption.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
If you enjoy his books you will derive great pleasure from the reality behind the fiction. Highly recommended but his "fiction" is still the best.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  1.063 commentaires
190 internautes sur 197 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Hearbreaking and shattering 21 octobre 2013
Par Reading Junkie - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Author Pat Conroy always writes of his actual life in his fictionalized books.

This book, however, is the nonfiction account of his life living with his abusive father, Don (the "Great Santini), his long-suffering mother Peg, and his damaged brothers and sisters. Conroy himself states, that of the the seven children Don and Peg created, five tried to commit suicide, and one did succeed (Tom, who threw himself off of a 14-story building).

Writing "The Great Santini" caused a rift in his family, father Don becoming angry and showing up at his book signings, reminding readers that the book WAS fiction.

But, writing the book also helped heal the contentious relationship he had with his father, a relationship detailed in this newest book, "The Death of Santini."

It is a difficult book to read, full of violence and pain, but also full of the beautiful language Conroy is known for. We do see the "Great Santini" stand up for his eldest son, and readers see that famous line from "The Prince of Tides" come to life: "In families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness."

You will grit your teeth in anger, clench your fists with rage, and weep at the power of forgiveness shown in this book.

It is well worth your time.
109 internautes sur 117 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A book of second chances... 24 octobre 2013
Par Cynthia K. Robertson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
What a bonus! Pat Conroy is my favorite author and I have tickets to see him in November at the Free Library of Philadelphia. So I couldn't have been more pleased to see his latest memoir, The Death of Santini, offered through Amazon Vine. Very few authors have the opportunity to rewrite the endings to their novels, so The Death of Santini is a special book, indeed. As always, The Death of Santini is sad, funny, moving, tragic and beautifully written.

Pat Conroy grew up the oldest of seven children. His father was an Irish-Catholic from Chicago, and a fighter pilot in the Marines. His mother came from a poor, southern family but had a love of literature that she passed on to her children. Their marriage was toxic, "composed of terror and great violence, storm-tossed and seasoned with all the terrible salts of pain." For years, Colonel Don Conroy waged war against his family. The wounded child grew into a scarred man, and those scars damaged every relationship the author touched. But all that would change with the publishing of his novel, The Great Santini in 1976. The Great Santini was a fictionalized version of Conroy's father, and most of the hurtful family scenes were true to life. At first, The Great Santini caused great controversy among the Conroy family. The Colonel claimed it was all a lie. But with the divorce of Conroy's parents and his father moving nearby, the book helped to open a dialogue between the two. "There was something in my father that the book touched, and it opened up a place in his heart that I thought had closed off long before I was born. So we began a journey together, set off on a voyage that would take us to many places and shared experiences that I never thought were possible with such an incomprehensible man." Throughout this journey with his father, Conroy also begins a personal journey--one where he tries to make peace with who he is, his anger, his Irish heritage, his broken marriages, his injured siblings, his inner demons, his breakdowns, the death of his mother, and the suicide of his youngest brother, Tom. And although Conroy claims that his parents "never taught me a thing about faking joy," he and his siblings often see humor in the most inappropriate situations.

I think there are no more complex relationships than that between a father and a son. Where it might appear that the relationship between Conroy and his father was damaged beyond repair, The Death of Santini is a book about second chances. Conroy claims that "Don Conroy had the best second act I ever saw." Their total reconciliation is a miracle of dysfunctional families. Colonel Conroy has appeared in several of Conroy's novels including as Bull Meecham in The Great Santini and Henry Wingo in The Prince of Tides. After writing The Death of Santini, Conroy vows that although he has written about his family more than almost any other writer, that the spirits of both his parents "deserve a rest, and I'm going to grant you a long one, one that lasts forever." While his parents rest in peace, I hope that The Death of Santini also provides some well-deserved peace to Pat Conroy.
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 a must read for fans of Conroy's work 29 octobre 2013
Par She Treads Softly - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son is a powerful, emotional memoir by Pat Conroy. Most people know that Conroy has found cathartic inspiration for his writing from his childhood. Looming large among those childhood demons was his father, Colonel Donald Conroy, the inspiration for Bull Meecham in Conroy's The Great Santini. Don Conroy beat his wife and children and seemed incapable of showing affection. Conroy notes in the opening "I've been writing the story of my own life for over forty years. My own stormy autobiography has been my theme, my dilemma, my obsession, and the fly-by-night dread I bring to the art of fiction.... Only rarely have I drifted far from the bed where I was conceived. It is both the wound and foundation of my work."

Conroy was the oldest of seven children and seemed to have endured the brunt of his father's abuse. Five of the siblings would try to kill themselves before the age of forty; one succeeded. Conroy notes that his father "could have written a manual on the art of waging war against his wife and children. I can't remember a house I lived in as a child where he did not beat my mother or me or my brothers; nor do I believe that he would've noticed if both his daughters had run away from home. As the oldest child, my mother raised me to be the protector of her other kids, to rush them into secret hiding places we had scouted whenever we moved into a new house."

Conroy writes:

"When I was thirty years old, my novel The Great Santini was published, and there were many things in that book I was afraid to write or feared that no one would believe. But this year I turned sixty-five, the official starting date of old age and the beginning count down to my inevitable death. I've come to realize that I still carry the bruised freight of that childhood every day. I can't run away, hide, or pretend it never happened. I wear it on my back like the carapace of a tortoise, except my shell burdens and does not protect. It weighs me down and fills me with dread.

"The Conroy children were all casualties of war, conscripts in a battle we didn't sign up for on the bloodied envelope of our birth certificates. I grew up to become the family evangelist; Michael, the vessel of anxiety; Kathy, who missed her childhood by going to sleep at six every night; Jim, who is called the dark one; Tim, the sweetest one - and can barely stand to be around any of us; and Tom, our lost and never-to-be found brother. My personal tragedy lies with my sister, Carol Ann, the poet I grew up with and adored...

"I've got to try and make sense of it one last time, a final circling of the block, a reckoning, another dive into the caves of the coral reef where the morays wait in ambush, one more night flight into the immortal darkness to study that house of pain one final time. Then I'll be finished with you, Mom and Dad. I'll leave you in peace and not bother you again. And I'll pray that your stormy spirits find peace in the house of the Lord. But I must examine the wreckage one last time."

And that is what Conroy is attempting to do in The Death of Santini, examine the wreckage of his childhood one last time. He also explores other experiences the also influenced his writing, like his time spent at the Citadel (The Lords of Discipline); teaching on Daufuskie Island, S.C. (The Water is Wide); more on his dysfunctional family and his relationship with his sister (Prince of Tides); leaving Rome to care for his terminally ill mother (Beach Music).

The Death of Santini is a more honest account of his family's dynamics than what is depicted in The Great Santini, and Conroy readily admits this. In real life, his father was actually even more brutal and abusive and his mother was less saintly. Conroy was actually asked to give Bull Meecham some positive emotional scenes for the book which were not true to life. All the brutal scenes, however, were based on real events.

This is a must read for fans of Conroy's work who want to know more about the personal connections between his life and his writing. The book includes 16 pages of photos.

Highly Recommended

Disclosure: My Kindle advanced reading edition was courtesy of Nan A. Talese via Edelweiss for review purposes.
49 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Inside a Writer's Mind and Life 3 novembre 2013
Par Freudian Slips - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
The first Pat Conroy book I read was The Great Santini: A Novel-- after I saw the excellent movie. I was captivated by his writing style-- his southern sense of drama and the beautiful way he described his fictionalized, yet obviously dysfunctional family situation. I went on to read every subsequent book. His characters would fit right into a Tennessee Williams play or a Truman Capote story. That said, I never read anything about his life.

Another great southern writer, Harper Lee, described Boo Radley's horrible life in To Kill a Mockingbird by writing that Atticus Finch said you didn't know a person until you walked around in his shoes. "Just standing on Boo Radley's porch was enough," she wrote. That's how I feel about Pat Conroy: his books are written with such heart-aching beauty and torment that I never felt the need to find the person behind them. Just reading his books was enough.

But I am very glad that I read The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son. Learning about Conroy's father and the relationship they forged despite-- perhaps because of-- Conroy's truth-telling about the family was a fascinating read. Conroy's evocative southern style shines through the book-- while others might say they grew up in an abusive home, Conroy writes, "The Conroy children were all casualties of war, conscripts in a battle we didn't sign up for on the bloodied envelope of our birth certificates." Damn, he's good. His dialogues with his father are priceless in how they subtly reveal the depth of the father's cruelty and yet his clearly deep-seated and ferocious love for his son. And it was interesting to get a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of "The Great Santini" and how it affected everyone in the town of Beaufort in one way or another.

The book continues on to delve into the many complicated relationships-- again some complicated more by Conroy's choice of writing topics. And Conroy's willingness to keep the relationships going is-- I'm not sure-- either crazy or an incredible act of love and family devotion. His family defies simple definition and analysis. But it's clear that he has powerful and meaningful stories to tell and that he is the only one to tell them.

His courage and determination in the face of psychological challenges which would undo most of us is stunning. If you're a Conroy fan, you will enjoy this look into his life. If you're a writer, you might enjoy the insights into how he writes and the choices he makes. If you're a psychologist, the characters in his family will keep you analyzing for hours. And if you're none of those, unless you're willing to delve into a violent and heartbreaking family, you might be better off just standing on the porch.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 25 Year Love Affair with Pat Conroy 4 novembre 2013
Par Shea St John - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I first fell in love with the hypnotizing effect of Pat Conroy's flowery language as a tenth grade student at Carrollton High School. I had read books all of my life; however, pure happenstance led me to the bottom shelf of the high school library where I selected The Lords of Discipline as my next read. From the age of sixteen until now, age forty, I have been fascinated by how his control of the English language can evoke emotions one never knew existed in himself or herself.

I have read everything I have been able to find in order to embark on those tragic, epic journeys with his characters; I have read each of his books (including the cookbook), the introduction to War and Peace, the introduction to Gone With the Wind, the introduction to If Holden Caulfield Were in My Classroom, as well as various magazine entries posted on the internet.

Pat's newest book, The Death of Santini, lives up to what has become expected of him throughout his career. The beginning of the book summons the sensory details to become active participants from beginning to end. As I was reading stories about his life, I realized by page 100, I had become one of them. A Conroy. An honorary Conroy.

Many people either love Pat Conroy's writing or hate it. I think this is the greatest compliment in all of the world. Mediocrity and indifference are not a result of a literary journey led by Pat Conroy. My father-in-law is convinced Pat is as far from pious as a person could be. A co-worker of mine is convinced Conroy's voice whines its way to the end of each novel. Those people are wrong. It is a shame there are those people who are not set afire by and for literature. It is something I require of literature I read, and it is something Conroy never fails to enact.

I have taught a Conroy novel at least seven times in my career as an IB English teacher. At first, students are daunted by the bulk of the task before them. Before they realize it, they are lost in the world of Pat Conroy one hundred percent. Very seldom do students fail to be moved by Pat's artistry.

Once in class, one of my students said he enjoyed Pat Conroy so much because he felt like Pat trusts the reader, like he has entrusted his most private information about himself to the reader. He also challenges the reader to a personal quest. By forging that relationship, the reader has a responsibility to further understand the message conveyed.

This is where readers feel uncomfortable. The more forthright Pat Conroy's writing is, the more readers see the disappointment in the world, in their families, in their parents, among their friends, amidst their co-workers, as well as themselves.

The sincerity, the soul, and the passion that leaps from each page in Conroy's novel also begin to course through the veins of readers' blood. We can all taste the salt air and the wind-blown breeze of the Atlantic Ocean. We can see the deer, egrets, and blue crabs. We are invited into a part of South Carolina that is as close to heaven as anything on earth. More importantly, we relive the tragedies and celebrations of the Conroy family with every ounce of our very beings.

For fans of Pat Conroy, The Death of Santini will seduce, anger, frustrate, challenge, and enter your soul. Once it has ownership of your heart, it will allow you to weep for the cycles of life, leaving you with a feeling of serenity and peace.

I invite everyone to join Pat Conroy on this rare journey into the depths of his family, madness, love, and commitment, in an effort to be reminded of all the important things that matter in life.

Thank you Pat Conroy.
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