Saturday, April 24, 2010

South of Broad

Good grief this book was awful. I'm trying to figure out if Conroy has become a bad writer or I've become a cynical reader. The answer is probably in between, but really, this is the worst thing of Conroy's I've ever read.

This book actually has some beautiful parts. The paper route description could rank up there as one of the great piece of writings. But unfortunately you forget that after having to read some of the most tortured, cliched and saccharine dialogue in the history of the written or spoken word. And the fact the editors and all the readers listed in the acknowledgment failed to find two misuses of I instead of me, the first occurring in the prologue for goodness sake, further un-endeared this book to me.

The big problem though was the characters and their idealized interactions. It was like reading through rose-colored glasses or watching an Andy Hardy movie, but with economically and racially diverse kids putting on a show. And despite being "historical" at least in terms of the book taking place in the past, no one bothered to get the details of time and place right. When the lives of the characters at the end of the book intersected with one more historic event, I could not get through the last sixty pages fast enough. Needless to say, I'm not waiting to see if Mr. Conroy produces any more works. I wouldn't mind re-reading Lords of Discipline though.

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