©1976 Pat Conroy; (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
boring, tedious, mind numbing, seemingly endless adolescent dialogue punctuated by abusive rants by an intolerant, overbearing jerk. It doesn't take 18 hours to develop these characters that were so uninteresting that it was hardly, no not, worth listening to. Conroy said in his introduction that his father hated the book after his first read...so did I. On the other hand, Conroy gets huge credit for evolving from this dog to writing some of the best novels I have ever read, namely "Beach Music" and "Prince of Tides". I evaluate the book based upon whether I received $20 worth of entertainment value, I got $0.00. Would have been a rip off if the book was free!
Dick Hill is an awesome reader. His work with Lee Child's Reacher and others I have heard are really first rate. In my opinion the reader provides well over half of the enjoyment value of any audible book. A bad reader can easily kill a good book and a good reader can save or at least make enjoyable a marginal one. Even Dick Hill couldn't save this dog, it was simply boring from start to finish. Certainly not his fault.
Gross disappointment, Conroy is much better than that. I fail to see why the book gets the credit it does.
Just terrible book, extremely predictable, childishly dedicated to documenting archaic military traditions that are in themselves ridiculous and worse when read aloud. I totally respect the military and those who choose to serve and the sacrifice they give to their country but to have it graphically described in this level of detail was very tedious and somewhat embarrassing.
Relive your life if your dad was a alcoholic that was impossible to please.
Dick Hill are a nice voice to listen to
I'm taking a break from this story 1/3 the way through because Bull/Santini is such an obnoxious, loud-mouthed character that I can barely stand to listen to it.
The hero of the story (so far) is Ben, Bull Meecham's teenage son, who has many redeeming qualities.
I believe that it was the authors intent that the title character should be this overbearing, bulldozing, testosterone driven loud-mouth of a man, so how can I fault the reader for being irritating? Though Dick Hill is far from my favorite reader, he has given adequate performances on other occsasions, so yes, I would.Perhaps he could have portrayed the man with a little less vigor? I found myself constantly adjusting the volume as Hill shifted from MAXIMUM VOLUME for Santini - to the soft-spoken wife, Lily or practically any other character.
...if I can bring myself to finish the audiobook, I will revise my review as needed.
I have greatly enjoyed the movies made from Conroy's works: (ie., Prince of Tides, Conrack...) so I don't dou bt that he is a worthwhile author. Thus I WANT to finish this one way or the other. "The other" though may be by reading the book oldstyle...
I had only seen the movie before and remembered being horrified by the scene where he throws the basketball at his son's head. Now that I'm older (much older!) I can actually identify with Santini and his struggle to be the best marine aviator and how that spills over into his family life. How he inspired his men to love him and want to go to war with him by his humor and tough love, yet made his son (and me) hate him. I appreciated how Conroy used Santini's wife to humanize his incomprehensible actions.
The actor who narrates the book is wonderful. He makes the voices so individual, that you don't need to be told who is speaking.
I just finished watching the 1979 movie adaptation of this book which I finished about two hours prior. Let's face it, 1970's-1980's cinema seldom plays well in 2012; however this movie did which is a complement to the screen writer of course. Let's face it, the real Bull Meecham in the book could never have been realistically portrayed by Robert Duvall or anyone else and survive studio scrutiny any more than anything in Conroy's Lords Of Discipline be portrayed at all in any form and survive. By the way, the screen play for Lords of Discipline was a total disaster, don't bother.
Just like Bull, The Great Santini is terribly flawed, imperfect, at times entirely disgusting and irredeemable; but you cannot help but love each and every character. This book has guts, heart and above all the ability to rise above it all and show love in a way few books can. Ben stole the show in the book, as did Michael O'Keefe in the movie. Lillian came in a close second in both, the actress superb. Without any hesitation, The Great Santini far exceeds Lords Of Disicipline in too many ways to mention and yet, in the end, I love them both.
Oh, I almost forgot, an Oscar performance for Dick HIll, genius reading, stunning!!
Stand By For A Fighter Pilot!
No. One of my favorite books, from one of my favorite authors. But simply suffers from the same issue that plagued the Lords of Discipline, but with a more severe affliction. The main character, Santini, is of course, loud and obnoxious. When you read the novel, you are aware of it, but you don't "feel" it. With this performance by Dick Hill, the experience is much more visceral. It is really annoying to have Santini yelling at you constantly through the first few chapters of the novel. It's not a horrible performance, but it is too over-the-top. He has no ups-and-downs. The listener never gets a break. You might think that the narrator and his mother would provide a sensitive, quiet reprieve, but they come off as wooden.I had to stop listening just to avoid a rise in my blood pressure.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
There aren't a lot of books out there about what it was like to be a military brat. I am forever grateful to Pat Conroy for making the effort. All of our stories are different of course but there are commonalities in The Great Santini that we can all relate to. For anyone who was a military brat or knew a military brat, you should read this book. Conroy captures the feeling of always being the new kid in school, of how the father's career affects the family, of not really having a sense of place. He captures the sense in which these kids feel they are missing some critical element of growing up, at the same time that they are proud of the tradition they are part of. Most of all, he captures the love/hate relationship we all have with the branch of the service our fathers were part of.
Had previously read Conroy's "The Lords of Discipline" and really enjoyed it. "The Great Santini" was even better. Dick Hill's narration is top notch and really brings the story to life. Highly recommend the book.
Pat Conroy is the best at character development. His plots tend to go on too long and "The Great Santini" was one of the longer. I read "South of Board" and love it. It took me longer to get into "The Great Santini" but it slowly began to grow on me. I have the misfortune of knowing someone very much like the father (The Great Santini) in this book so I was able to relate to it very well. I love Conroy's ability to place you in the scenes, to understand what each of the characters are thinking and going through.
Yes. He's an excellent writer and even though his book are too wordy, they are well worth the experience.
Dick Hill did an excellent job portraying the voice and emotions of each of the character's of the book.
Mary Ann, the older sister, was the most memorable character. She was the only one who did not let her father intimidate her, maybe because she was also the one most like her father.
The beginning of the book is really boring and I almost didn't finish. But I was glad that I did.
As a marine, Bull is one of the best. As a father, he is not one of the best. Through the pages of this book, Pat Conroy tells the story of Bull and his family as they make a home in South Carolina during Ben Meecham's senior year in high school. New friends are made, new relationships forged, and old family habits are faced with laughter and heartache. The four Meecham children, their Mid-Western Marine father, and their Southern bred mother come alive within the pages of The Great Santini. They struggle with their undying love for family and the love/hate relationship they have for the lives they have very little control over.
Pat Conroy has a gift for the written language. His rich Southern heritage permeates every page. With one sentence he can invoke anger, bring you to tears, or make you roar with laughter. His words are eloquent and harsh, stirring and sharp. He is a master.
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