Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Pat Conroy and the Road to Forgiveness



The Death of Santini

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Nan A. Talese ()
ISBN-13: 978-0385530903
Kindle: 7582 KB
Publisher: The Dial Press (October 29, 2013)

Available on Amazon

Forgive and Heal

Pat Conroy, a gifted writer, shot to fame as a novelist with the publication of his first novel, The Great Santini, which was a semi-autobiographical account of his painful military-brat childhood and his overpowering and abusive father. Writing the novel was obviously cathartic for Conroy but also the equivalent of throwing an emotional grenade into the lives of his parents and siblings. All of his novels dealt in some ways with the pain of his childhood.

But what I find uplifting is that Conroy's final book, The Death of Santini, is a memoir that is ultimately about finding a way to forgive and come to terms with the wounds of his childhood. Pat Conroy writes:

...this year I turned sixty-five, the official starting date of old age and the beginning count down to my inevitable death. I've come to realize that I still carry the bruised freight of that childhood every day. I can't run away, hide, or pretend it never happened. I wear it on my back like the carapace of a tortoise, except my shell burdens and does not protect. It weighs me down and fills me with dread.

I understand that. I think that any of us, who have been wounded by life, understand that. 

For the film buffs: several of Pat Conroy's books were made it to the screen: The Prince of Tides (with Nick Nolte), The Great Santini (with Robert Duvall), The Lords of Discipline (with Michael Gleason) and the Hallmark version of The Water is Wide.

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