Friday, August 14, 2009
South of Broad by Pat Conroy
South of Broad exhausted me. It really did. I couldn't get images from the book out of my bed. I didn't dream about it but thinking about this book kept me from sleeping.
I'm familiar with the name Pat Conroy and obviously have heard of his other work but I had never read any of his books. I want to make that clear, as I've read some mixed reviews, where South of Broad was compared to his other writing. This was my first foray into the world of Pat Conroy and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The book focuses on Leo, the narrator, who meets nine new friends on one day in June when he is eighteen. These nine people change his life. They form a friendship that takes them through the next two decades and beyond. It's the kind of friendship I've always wanted to have.
The first hundred pages or so were a little difficult for me. I had a hard time getting into the dialogue, possibly because I'm not familiar with the South Carolina accent. I'm sure there's a lovely cadence that makes it all work, but I struggled at first. The characters didn't say what I wanted them to say! Leo was too witty and clever. At some point it all came together and the story picked up. Stick around for the last hundred pages where everything comes together into one climax after another. Just when I thought it was over. . . It wasn't. There is a huge revelation at the end and it just gutted me.
If you like sweeping family sagas, you'll enjoy this book. These friends do become family, through their bonds, and through marriages. Enjoy!