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Eye-openingly disturbing and brilliant
Many reviews say that the novel is cheesy and laughable fictional. The plot takes so many twists that it's difficult to keep up or even believe there story line. I feel that this is not the main concept or purpose of the book, but the ideas that people are "catapulted into lives they were never meant to lead" is the essence of the novel. Drawing parallels between convoys other novels, he kills off favorite characters and builds their lives up to tragedy. I truly believe he does this (as angering as it may be) because there truly is nothing left for those characters, nowhere left for them to go, their only sanctuary is death. I find myself unable to tear myself away from these books. And as for the language that some view as insulting or dry, I find humorous and painfully truthful. Conroe has a way with his words that can be eloquent and harsh at the same time as it reflects in his characters. I loved this book as it made me insane reading it obsessively.
I Guess That's Why They Call It "Fiction"
Yikes! What was I thinking? Bought this book at Borders as the 3rd book from one of their "Buy 2-get the 3rd Free" sale. A big disappointment, but I kept reading the book(why, I don't know).
South of Broad
The biggest complaint I have is that most of the story and the characters were not very believable. Maybe that can be explained because it is truly a book of "fiction."
Maybe the next time I am trying to decide what book to buy as the "free" book I will choose more wisely and not get "burned" again.
I found the book to be cheesy, and the story to be ridiculous. I found the language (southern inflection) and depiction of the people of the south to be demeaning. As I read I write words that fit the book. along with cheesy I wrote Cliché,
Over plotted but fun to read
Juvenile, obvious and artless. The story line was very close to the Big Chill with more stuff thrown in.
I instantly wanted to take a trip to Charleston after reading this book. I enjoyed the witty dialogue and rich descriptions, but it seemed like all the characters spoke the same way with few distinguishing or realistic traits. The plot itself reads like a melodrama one moment, a sitcom the next, with way too much in the way of daring rescues and murderous escapades. ...With all that, however, I found myself looking forward to reading it each night.
Pat Conroy is such an outstanding writer. There isn't a published word by him that I have not read. However, I believe I was a little let down by this book. It isn't fair to judge every book he writes by the great books of "The Great Santini", "The Prince of Tides" and "The Lords of Discipline". This book could not hold up to that standard. What was wonderful about this book is the way Mr. Conroy describes a scene. No one does it better. I felt like I was in the middle of Charleston while I was reading this book. I reread so many passages as I could not think of anyway they could have been written any better. The major flaw to me were the conversations among the well crafted friends of the main character, Leo King. While the conversations were witty and fun, I don't believe anyone really talks like that on a regular basis in real life. It just didn't ring true to me. However, Leo King was a wonderful character -- but probably too much of a saint overall to be believable. His only flaw was that he was not the most attractive person. On the other hand, Leo's mother's had only one favorable attribute -- she was intelligent in a book way, not in an emotional way. I do want Pat Conroy to start writing again so that we don't have to wait so long for the next book. I will be in the bookstore the day it comes out. What a great writer!!
South of Broad, Southern, Unlikely friendships
Pat Conroy has written another hit. This one is a based in Charleston, South Carolina and is a story of unlikely friendships that start in High School and last a lifetime. Leo King is eight years old when he finds his ten year old brother who has committed suicide. This tragedy colors the rest of his life and brings him to gather a motley crew of friends his senior year in high school. This group of friends stays together over a lifetime and can always count on each other.
An Entertaining Disappointment
Leo's mother never liked him because he was not his beautiful brother Steve. She was always telling him how ugly, stupid, and crazy he was. I could relate to Leo so much. I had the very same mother! Leo grew up in the south during integration just as I did and was just one year younger than me. We had the same experiences with our high schools being integrated, the fear, anger, hatred and finally acceptance.
Twenty years later, the group is pulled into a mystery when Sheba, now a movie star, asks for their help in finding her twin brother Trevor. Although Pat Conroy is wonderful at building characters, describing the location and making you feel a real part of the story, he is not really into keeping us on the edge of our seat in the mystery department. It was pretty easy to figure out everything long before the answer was revealed but it did not take anything away from the story at all because his skills at writing a believable story are amazing.
Being a southerner myself and very familiar with Charleston, I could see each street and house and walled garden as it was being described. I have also spent many days in San Francisco so I could picture the rundown neighborhoods and the mansion on the coast. And for those of you not familiar with these locations, Mr. Conroy has masterfully painted a magical picture for you to treasure.
I could not put this book down once I picked it up and as soon as I finish passing it around to all my friends, I plan on reading it again.
Pat Conroy's latest book is a very entertaining read full of his classic descriptions and love of the south, however it is not believable enough to get lost in. Unfortunately even today I do not see the friendships he describes crossing class, race and sexual preferences as possible in the south. There are great vignettes, but the AIDS scene of San Francisco does not weave into Charleston. The host of characters is colorful, but unrealistic. Those in love with southern scenery or Conroy should read it; others might find more cohesive worlds elsewhere.
Feast of Emotions and Adjectives
Conroy’s newest Southern adventure “South of Broad” is worth the wait – I inhaled this novel. His liberal use of adjectives allowed me to imagine or remember the ambiance, smell and taste of everything about the cities of Charleston and San Francisco, both favorites of mine. “South of Broad” introduces Leo King’s unusual family and strangely wonderful companions who share the adventures and misadventures from his childhood to adulthood. Anyone fortunate enough to have good friends (especially if they've married one) will be reminded of those relationships while reading Leo’s life story. “South of Broad” has enough ambiguities to satisfy a mystery lover, and unanticipated surprises. The book is also an excellent window back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s, when racial tension was high, the rules of right and wrong seemed to be changing, and sex turned deadly.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story with characters who are intimately involved with each other and their environment; in fact, sometimes the city or the water surrounding the city becomes an important character.
Do not start this book on a Sunday - unless you are retired, or have a vacation day available; you will not want to close the book until the satisfying end.