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01/08/2003 "Those who are not Abused as Children do not Ever Understand or Believe how it Determines the Rest of a Child's life; When they do Realize It, Parenting will be Restricted to the Fit"

I think most reviewers agree that these are Conroy's better books and should be read first:The Lords of Discipline, The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides and Beach Music . But for those who have read them, his newest book is My Losing Season by Pat Conroy

From Publishers Weekly:

"Loss is a fiercer, more uncompromising teacher, coldhearted but clear-eyed in its understanding that life is more dilemma than game, and more trial than free pass," writes bestselling author Conroy in his first work of nonfiction since The Water Is Wide (1972).

Conroy is beloved for big, passionate, compulsively readable novels propelled by the emotional jet fuel of an abusive childhood.

The Lords of Discipline, The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides and Beach Music are each informed by a knowledge of pain and heartache taught to him by a Marine pilot father whose nickname was "the Great Santini."

Here, in a re-creation of the losing basketball season Conroy and his team endured during his senior year at the Citadel, 1966- 1967, Conroy gives readers an intimate look at how suffering can be transformed to become a source of strength and inspiration. "I was born to be a point guard, but not a very good one," he admits.

Drawing on extensive interviews with his teammates, he chronicles, game by game, their talent and his sheer determination and grit. In Conroy's hands, sports writing becomes a vehicle to describe the love and devotion that can develop between young men. Toward the end of this moving work, Conroy explains that writing books became "the form that praying takes in me."

Spotlight Reviews (what's this)
Reviewer: Aaron Snyder............ It's still hard for me to believe that someone as despicable as Pat's Father could have created such a sensetive and insightful person---it's very hard to believe that "The Great Santini" was actually worse in real life than in fiction.

Reviewer: G. Merritt "I was born to be a point guard, but not a very good one" (p. 1) bestselling author, Pat Conroy, writes in the Prologue to this memoir of his 1966-67 senior year basketball season at the Citadel. It was a season that haunts him still (p. 399).

THE LOSING SEASON is not only Conroy's sentimental story of "a mediocre basketball team," The Citadel Bulldogs, a team that spent a year "perfecting the art of falling to pieces" (p. 14), but it is also the story of his encounters with loss, an experience which enabled him to endure a "child-beating father" (p. 388), aka "The Great Santini," and an experience which later sustained him during the "stormy passages" of his life, "when the pink slips came through the door, when the checks bounced at the bank," when he left his wife, and when he later contemplated suicide (p. 14).

He observes, "losing prepares you for the heartbreak, setback, and tragedy that you will encounter in the world" (p. 395). Conroy spent four years interviewing members of his team and writing his book as an "act of recovery" (p. 394).


Reviewer: Joe Giarrusso
I cannot believe that the man who wrote "Beach Music", "Prince of Tides", etc. could have written such a boring, repetitive, uninteresting book as this. How can anyone think that learning about every jump shot, basketball move, locker room ranting, past hurt (brought up so eloquently in prior books) could be of interest to anyone? Mr. Conroy, if you ever read this, please return to the man who can capture one's heart and intellect in a single sentence

Reviewer: dchapma
I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book--I've never read Conroy's books before, I've never attended a military school, and I don't like basketball--but I'm pleased to say I was wrong. Though Conroy does dwell on the play-by-play of ballgames a little too much (especially later in the book), I found this story of failures and triumphs to be gripping.

I think Conroy wrote the book more for himself and his old team than for the average paying customer, but I didn't feel left out. Good stuff.



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