25. My Reading Life (Pat Conroy)

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 9.20.21 PM“The novels I’ve loved will live inside me forever”

In preparation for my trip south to Myrtle Beach, I thought that I would brush up on my knowledge of a Southern writer.  Pat Conroy is best know for his book (and the subsequent movie), The Prince of Tides.  This is a novel that I read in the early 1990s when the movie starring Nick Nolte and Barbara Streisand was released.  His memoir was self-narrated and describes his life through his description of a series of books which impacted his life and his writing.

He grew up a self-proclaimed military brat, moving frequently and living in a home where his he, his mother and his siblings were abused by his father.  Although she had little education, his mother valued books and instilled a love of reading, libraries and learning in her children.

As he expanded his knowledge of reading (Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and everything by Thomas Wolfe and Tolkien to mention a few) he also began writing.  He wrote The Great Santini based on his father which led to his parent’s divorce and although challenging at first, eventually improved his relationship with his father who had mellowed.

Unfortunately, I listened to this memoir in the car so did not take notes to provide more detail to this post but it certainly provided perspective on Conroy’s challenges with abuse, depression and a failed marriage.  He was open and honest and I will be adding his books to my TBR list – perhaps reading one next time I venture south to Myrtle Beach.

Sadly, Pat Conroy passed away in March 2016, dying of pancreatic cancer but his fiction lives on in the hearts of many readers and his voice can be heard though listening to this memoir.

“Tell me a story” are acknowledged as the four best words in the English language by Pat Conroy.

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