This story could have been great, but ends up just so-so, and for a fan of Conroy, that's a disappointment. The structure of jumping back and forth in time is not an issue, I enjoy stories unfolding that way. The disasters that befall such a small group of friends (the characters) in this story are ridiculous in volume and substance. The last few hours of this book are to be endured only to get to the end that doesn't come soon enough, I wished all these people would have died sooner to save me from many hours of Conroy trying too hard to impress with verbiage and description. Was there an editor involved in this release at all I wonder? There are a few times where Conroy manages to pluck the familiar sentimental heart strings, family, religion, community, and they are well written, but the rest is a sophomoric mess. This is the only Conroy work that has left me glad it is over, rather than deeply saddened to leave the rich world he has crafted and shared with us. Too bad.
I got married in Charleston, two years ago and this book just took me back to that time and the gracious people there. I enjoyed listening to this while driving to work and was sorry when it came to an end. Some great characters here and lots of drama - can't wait to see if they make this into a movie! I've never read anything from Pat Conroy before but had to get this one since Charleston is now dear to my heart too! It's a great listen.
Enjoyed this book, as always Conroy uses his humor to tell a tale of growing up in the south. I think I know these characters from my own childhood growing up in the south during the 60's.
I am mystified by the negative reviews of this book. I found it delightful, and articulate. It definitely transported me to a different time and place. Perhaps some people find the issue of aids off putting. I believe Conroy managed it very well. He certainly introduces the reader to an interesting variety of characters. The foray to San Francisco was fun as well. I have read, and or listened to all of his other books as well and believe this one is solidly in the cannon.
I enjoyed the narrative, good inflections and tones, and the story at times is gripping, but when it came to tying up loos ends, this story does it all. I think Pat Conroy wanted to combine a wonderfull story with every bad sterotype in human nature. Still enjoyed it!!
I rate this book a low "B" compared to Conroy's earlier "A" works (The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, etc.) Character development and story line are erratic; both seem to run out of steam toward the end of the book. The narrative depiction of Charleston is vintage Conroy, however, and quite enjoyable. The narrator took some getting used to -- fake Southern accent was very distracting and the mispronunciations irritating (Molly's last name of "Huger" is pronounced "You-Gee," NOT "Huggie"). Not sorry I bought this book but not one to re-read, unlike the Conroy classics.
I like Pat Conroy's style of writing - this particular one seemed to jump around a little. On audio I found myself wondering if I skipped some chapters.
Which Pat Conroy REALLY wrote this book? Surely not the same one who wrote "Prince of Tides" and "Lords of Discipline." I suspect the author was under the influence of chick lit, soap operas, and cliche coming of age books when he wrote it. Or maybe he dug out some notes from 25 yrs ago for a wisely-unfinished novel, and, unable to write as he once did, succumbed to his publisher's pressure and handed this abomination over.