A Lowcountry Heart by Pat Conroy

A Lowcountry Heart, Reflections on a Writing Life by Pat Conroy; 2016; $25.00; 300 pages; Nan A. Talese, New York, NY; 978-0-385-53086-6;purchased through smileamazon.com; 11/23/16-11/27/16

Why did I read this?  Because Pat Conroy is the man, and always will be the man as far as I am concerned.  He is the author who has shared a life with me and has a wonderfully awesomely splendiferous way with words and I would read his to do list if they published it.

Pat Conroy passed away in March of 2016 and the world is not as beautiful as it was.  This book came out on what would have been Pat’s seventy first birthday.  The chapters are blog entries that Pat had shared online with his readers, covering all kinds of topics about his books, his friends, his readers and more.  It also includes a interview with him, an introduction by his wife the novelist Cassandra King and the eulogy that was delivered by his best friend.  When he left he took a piece of my heart.

Grade-A

Pat Conroy, A Critical Companion by Landon C. Burns

Pat Conroy, A Critical Companion by Landon C. Burns; 1996; 195 pages; Greenwood Press; Westport, CT; 0-313-29419-4; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 3/18/16-3/22/16

Why did I read this?  With the passing of Pat Conroy on March 4 I wanted to read something about him.  This book examines his books from The Boo to Prince of Tides.  There is a biographical chapter about Pat’s life and how that has affected his writing.  Each book is looked at for themes and style.  Each book is looked at through a different type of criticism, Freudian, Feminist, Marxist and so on.  I would like to find an expanded copy of this which covers the entire body of work.

Grade A

Conversations with the Conroys, Interviews with Pat Conroy and his Family by Walter Edgar

Conversations with the CONROYS, Interviews with Pat Conroy and His Family by Walter Edgar; 2015; 96 pages; University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC; checked out from Portland State University Library through the Interlibrary Loan Program; 3/26/16-3/27/16

Why did I read this?  With the death of Pat Conroy on March 4th, I wanted to read some thing that I hadn’t read of him.

This is several interviews with Pat Conroy and three of his brothers during a couple of events in South Carolina.  Missing are sister Carol and brother Tom, Carol because she is estranged from the rest of the family and Tom, who has passed away.  It is interesting to see the interplay between the siblings and how they speak about Pat and their parents.  It would be interesting if Pat had written a book where he didn’t romanticize his mother, which he admits he did.  The afterword by Nikky Finney has some beautiful words about Pat.

Grade A

 

 

A certain kinship

patUnderstanding Pat Conroy by Catherine Seltzer; 2015; $21.95; 137 pages; University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC; 978-1-61117-546-2; purchased from Amazon.com; 5/7/15-5/8/15

Why did I read this?  Because ever since I read Great Santini (many times) I have been a fan of Pat Conroy.  I have read and reread most of his books and after reading this I am going to re-read them again.

What is the story?  This is a critical look at Conroy’s work and the themes that run through them.  There is a short biography of Pat Conroy and then each following chapter is about one of his books.  Each chapter looks at the influences that show in the book, the back drop against which it was written and how certain themes are expressed in each book and every book.  The Death of Santini, which I believe came out just before this was published is briefly mentioned.  The Boo, The Pat Conroy Cookbook and My Reading Life are not closely examined but are mentioned.  It was an interesting look behind the curtain at my favorite author.  Sometimes this kind of book destroys my desire to reread books but this has whetted my desire to read Conroy’s books.

Grade A

Did I enjoy it?  Yes, some of it I had already determined from reading the books multiple times but other things were a-ha moments that made me want to reread the books.

What is with the title of the review?  Pat Conroy grew up the son of a Marine Officer moving many times.  I grew up the son of a Naval Officer moving many times.  There are certain themes in his works that resonate strongly with me.

 

from Mental Floss to the last paragraph

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green; 2012; $17.99; 318 pages; Dutton Books, New York, NY; 978-0-525-47881-2; YA Fiction; purchased from Multnomah County Library Title Wave Used Bookstore; 4/10/14-4/14/14

Hazel has been fighting cancer for several years and watching her support group change as others pass on and new diagnosis join the group.  One day a friend of hers brings another friend to group and he changes Hazels’ life.  Augustus Waters is a jock who talks like Pat Conroy writes and has lost a leg in his own battle.  Hazel introduces Augustus to the most important book in her life, An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten and then they both are obsessed with the book and what happens to the characters in the book after the book ends, (something I have often wondered myself and written the sequel in my head.)  Augustus manages to make contact with the author and uses his cancer wish to get he and Hazel a trip to meet Mr. Van Houten, a trip that is more and less than either Hazel or Augustus imagined it would be.  The trip is the coda to the penultimate measure of their young lives.

Did I like it?  Yes, it was well written with characters that it was easy to empathize with, all but one, but eventually even with that one.  I am looking forward to reading more of John Greens’ books.

Grade-A

What is with the title of the review?  I have been watching John Green do Mental Floss list shows for a couple of years and I heard good things about TFOS and I finally put it together that the John Green I was watching was also the author of TFOS and other books.  The last paragraph of this moved me as much as the first chapter of Yellow Birds.  I have reread the final paragraph of this as many as read the first chapter of Yellow Birds.