South of Broad - Pat Conroy

I didn't realize I was waiting for this book to come out for so many years. I was surprised to find out that Pat Conroy hasn't published a new novel for about the length of my marriage.

It was worth the wait. Epic in scope, South of Broad fulfilled all my expectations. Conroy does not disappoint with his characters - they are alternately lovable, maddening, laughable, and often bizarre in the extreme.

Like me, Pat Conroy is one of seven children. He has said that five of them were suicidal at one time or another. I cannot fathom that- none of us have problems of that magnitude, and thinking on that makes me wonder if his writing is necessary for him to keep his sanity.

Finally, a good father in a Pat Conroy novel. And this one must be the one everyone dreams to have - his kindness is like a blanket. I feel the same about Atticus Finch; I aspire to be this kind of parent.

Leopold "Leo" Bloom King is, like Conroy's other heroes, a boy and then a man to whom we can all relate. His self-described unattractiveness touches a place deep within all of us, no matter whether we were ugly or not.

Of course, there is football. Sports cannot be ignored - they help Conroy's young men develop into characters we cheer for and suffer alongside.

Suicide, a serial killer, a hurricane, a movie star, a psychotic wife - Conroy leaves no empty spaces. Take your time reading this one - it might be fourteen years before we get another.


  1. South of Broad.
    I tried getting through this one..honestly. I got to page 192, and closed it. There was something harsh about the interactions between these characters...the "good ol boy" put-downs were driving me away from wanting to like any of them. They couldn't seem to be honest...Leo's mother was a *****! I just couldn't work that hard at getting to know them. I wish I could.



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