Much loved author Pat Conroy died last month at the age of 70. His novels, inspired by his difficult childhood and the place where he grew up on the coast of South Carolina, provided many with wonderful reading experiences. The originality of Conroy’s fictional characters and his ability to delve into their deep emotions marked his books as compelling and special. Conroy’s writing career was recognized with many bestsellers and the affection of his fans who always waited for his next book. It is a good time to either read a Pat Conroy book for the first time or to revisit one read long ago. Find the books at the Monrovia Public Library.
Conroy mined his time spent at military academy for The Lords of Discipline, the story of a South Carolina school where cadets band together for friendship and to protect themselves from a group of classmates who act out as arbiters of who is suitable to graduate from the school. Set during the Vietnam War and a time when only one African-American cadet is in the academy, this is a cannot-put-it down novel with great characterizations.
A big book with the glorious main character Tom Wingo, The Prince of Tides is the story of a football coach and teacher who relates his traumatic childhood and that of his siblings to a New York psychiatrist. A critical and popular hit, the book’s 40 year span, description of coastal South Carolina and tremendous narrative skills make it a contemporary classic.
After the success of The Prince of Tides there was much anticipation of his next book, Beach Music. This saga about a man on the run from his past, which included the suicide of his wife and a difficult family life, was admired for Conroy’s great descriptive writing style and choice of words.
Let’s finish with Conroy’s last book My Reading Life, in which he lovingly talks about his favorite authors and books. Many readers would have Conroy’s name on their list of favorites.