My Losing Season: A Memoir
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My Losing Season: A Memoir

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  5,100 ratings  ·  329 reviews
PAT CONROYAMERICA’S MOST BELOVED STORYTELLERIS BACK!

“I was born to be a point guard, but not a very good one. . . .There was a time in my life when I walked through the world known to myself and others as an athlete. It was part of my own definition of who I was and certainly the part I most respected. When I was a young man, I was well-built and agile and ready for the...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 26th 2003 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published January 1st 2002)
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Best Memoir / Biography / Autobiography
219th out of 2,180 books — 2,468 voters
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Best of Pat Conroy
7th out of 11 books — 30 voters


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Community Reviews

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Ron
There's a scene in a 1970s movie in which Gene Hackman tries to grind up a broken wine glass in a garbage disposal. Reading this book is a lot like that.

I picked up "My Losing Season" not as a great fan of Pat Conroy or as a former athlete. I was attracted more by the theme of loss and its lessons. And I expected a different personal story than the one Conroy tells. The losing basketball season in his last year as a cadet at The Citadel in Charleston, SC, is a pretext for a much deeper theme - s...more
John
As a basketball player and a major participant in several losing seasons i am probably biased. But, Conroy does a great job of telling the story of his losing season as a senior at the Citadel. Lots of basketball action, but a great underlying message that goes far beyond the sport.
Kyle
"My Losing Season" is a powerful book that uses the author’s losing 1966-1967basketball season at The Citadel to explore whether one learns more from winning or from losing. From the opening line, “I was born to be a point guard, but not a very good one,” to the end, Conroy has a gift for memorable, descriptive writing.

I should preface my review by stating I don’t enjoy basketball, which includes playing it growing up and now watching it live or on TV. In High School P.E., they nicknamed me “Th...more
Danielle
Another book I pulled from my bookshelves while riding out our snowpocalypse. I picked up this advanced reader's copy back when I was working at Barnes and Noble. The book was hugely popular when it was released, but I never got around to reading it until now. In the book Pat Conroy explores his life through his love of basketball, particularly through his senior year season on the Citadel basketball team. Although it is a lot about basketball and the games that team played, it also explores his...more
Alice Parrish
I love this book. I was raised on ACC basketball. I firmly believe that the ACC & the reverence for basketball in the Carolinas is our true regional religion. Conroy uses his incredible command of the English language to write prose that might as well be poetry. I share Conroy's love & reverence for the game of basketball & particularly for the ACC so for me this book resonates with the very essence of my being. Given that I may be quite welling to overlook what other readers think i...more
Bill
Losing Season, by Pat Conroy, was imaginative, thought-provoking, and well written. Conroy had the imaginative idea to write a book about losers, with himself at center stage. He showed from his own experience that one can learn more from losing than from winning. He layers the vivid basketball story with his own painful coming of age out of an abusive home into an abusive miltary college environment with a dominating coach that leads by put-downs of his players. His writing carries the reader i...more
David
This is a good book, albeit one that needed a more forceful editor. Pat Conroy is a particularly emotional and effusive author who has a tendency to use superlatives about everything in his life. I didn't mind that for 90% of the book, but after a while, it begins to grate. Conroy is always a failure, a bad husband, an unworthy friend while the people in his life are giants of humanity, saints and true companions. Of course, neither is the case. The same emotional element holds true with his wri...more
Rob
This is an intense memoir that teaches lessons learned and perseverance even under losing circumstances. Conroy's early life that helped shape his later novels is all here--his abusive father, his military training and college life, etc... I'm not sure if a non athletic reader would lack the schema necessary for the basketball action parts. But if you have ever fell in love with a sport that helped you escape the troubles of childhood or gave you discipline and focus, this is your book. But even...more
Corinne
Eh, this was an OK book. I'll start by saying that I'm an admittedly hard sell on memoirs.

I found this one to be slow moving. Pat Conroy seemed to vacillate between being absolutely full of himself to being completely self-degrading. That got on my nerves. Which was it? Likely, it was somewhere in between and he should have just stayed there in his narration.

"Oh I sucked so much at basketball. Oh I got the basketball MVP. Oh I was such a mediocre player. Oh I took them to the hoop and scored 25...more
Jacki
I know this is a strange thing to say about a book that is mainly about basketball, but I enjoyed this book with the exception of the play-by-play basketball game parts. I thought the team dynamics, Citadel life, his crazy coach and his mean father were all really good but the basketball parts I could take or leave.

I am glad I read it because I liked learning about this authors life and how he came to be an author and the different parts of his real life and basketball career that translated in...more
Frederick Bingham
The story of Conroy's senior year basketball season at the Citadel in 1966-67. He played point guard on a team that won 8 and lost 17 games. The book is at its best when it describes the coach and the other players. It falls flat when it goes off on tangents, like a long one about the author's girlfriend in his sophomore year. Also unwelcome is an often sappy sentimentality about the Citadel and his reunion with the players in the 1990's. The last 1/4 or so of the book could have been deleted wi...more
Mikala
Feb 24, 2014 Mikala rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: bball fans


We all know the feeling of being assigned to read a book we don't want to read. These "forced" books are often times boring, uneventful and meaningless to us. Since we are enduring it for a grade reading becomes a chore (and that is just sad). I have had assigned reading books that bored me to tears and a few that I felt like I could actually take something away from. This one falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. There were times when I would rather take the zero on the quiz the next...more
Glenn
Another deeply emotional character-driven angst-ridden exposé of the hell, honor, discipline, brotherhood of cadets at the Citadel. His prose is as tasty as a southern barbecue savory, spicy, and delicious.
Howard White
Pat Conroy's life has been hell. Or it would seem that way if you've read his early work.

Conroy has mined his childhood and young adulthood for his fiction. The earliest works--the most directly mined--are his best and most powerful as a result. The Water is Wide, a thinly fictionalized memoir of his first job out of college teaching disadvantaged African American children on one of South Carolina's Sea Islands in the late '60s; The Great Santini, the classic novel drawn from his life as the so...more
Simon
I gave this book to my sons. Losing is a state of mind. You can take defeat and turn it into something that builds character and strength. More power to him.
Nancy
Patis always good.
Martha
I love Pat Conroy's books. They stir up so much emotion... and this is no exception, regardless of it not being fiction. He is so good at describing the feelings of those in the book that you can at least at one point or another relate. Other times you can't believe that it's possible that life could be so horrible. I guess that that's what gives him something to write about - but I'm not sure that I'd want to go through what he had to just to be able to write a memoir as well as novels. Wow. Ju...more
George Clack
Conroy is a florid writer for my taste. He seems to love every metaphor that occurs to him, is not at all troubled by clichés, and has a streak of sentimentality astonishing in a military college grad. But still. The stories he has to tell of his senior year as point guard on the The Citadel basketball team are marvelous. He’s got the deadpan locker-room humor of athletes cutting on each other down beautifully. Of course, this book is about much more than basketball, though it’s one of the top f...more
Patrick
I knew that Pat Conroy had written 'The Lords of Discipline', the fictional tale of life at The Citadel, but knew little about him personally. I'd seen the movie adaption of another of his works, 'The Great Santini'. A friend recommended this, and I gave it a try.

The book is a sort of an autobiography for Pat, who takes us from his childhood through his years attending The Citadel. Though the focus of the book is his senior year as captain of the basketball team, this is not a book about basket...more
Michelle
This book was a biography of one of my favorite author's college basketball career with the Citadel. It helped me understand where he came from and why he writes the way he does and I just loved this book. It was about a boy with such huge basketball dreams and with such a love for the game but not the talent to back it up. I loved his positive out look through everything he went through. I loved how he showed how inadequate and insecure he felt. He slowly showed you through the book that he gre...more
William Bentrim
My Losing Season by Pat Conroy

Normally I prefer something to be illuminated in a one or two word description rather than buckets of prose. I’m not fond of poetry. (I know, GASP!) However Pat Conroy’s writing brings new heights to prose and poetry. This book details his basketball career at the Citadel.

Conroy’s lush descriptions and vivid emotional portrayals captivate you from word one. His soul searching and searing self condemnation bring new bloody wounds each time you turn a page. I’m not...more
Patrick
Pat Conroy is a writer very close to my heart. Ever since my Dad did his best Great Santini impression on our move from Kansas to Virginia -- "GET UP! WE'VE GOT TO MAKE GOOD TIME!" -- I've worked my way through his novels and found that Conroy speaks to a lot of my experiences growing up and as an adult. We're both military BRATs, accustomed to moving and calling everywhere and nowhere "home". Conroy was raised to consider himself Southern, something I think he cultivated in defiance of his Chic...more
John Harder
I am a fan of Pat Conroy, but I found it hard to relate to this autobiographical account of a year of basketball at the Citadel. Except for women’s pool (there is much bending over) I am not a sports fan. Bouncing a ball around a big room with sweaty men; what a ridiculous way to spend an afternoon.



This is my problem I guess since many people enjoy this entertainment. After all the WWF, rap and Oprah are also popular – the retarded should have the opportunity to enjoy their lives I suppose.



Conro...more
Nancy
Sep 28, 2008 Nancy rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: youth coaches
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
So far there is a little too much basketball in this book for me, but I'm going to stick with it for a little while longer. Pat Conroy is kind of a quirky guy - a little sappy even - but there's something about him that pulls me in anyway. I think it is that I can never forget Callanwolde and the tiger in the Prince of Tides. I remember reading that chapter some 20 years ago while sitting in McDonald's long after I had finished my Chicken McNuggets. The words I was reading so profoundly impacted...more
Jason
My Losing Season is an introspective look at a critical time period in the life of novelist Pat Conroy. After forty years, few would care, let alone remember, of a losing basketball team at South Carolina’s military college of The Citadel. The team lost in the first round of the Southern Conference tournament, its coach was fired a few months after the season ended. The team’s anonymity should not be any greater than scores of other teams that fade into the passage of time, falling far short of...more
Jim B
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marialyce
As with all things written by Mr Conroy, I loved it. I am fully aware he wears his tortured childhood on his sleeve and each and everyone of his characters is imbued with it, but yet, I love each and every one of them. Within the pages of this autobiography of sorts, we see Mr Conroy come into himself though the efforts of a school, a team, and of course a coach. He, like the game of basketball he so loves, became a fiber that knit together his life and that of his team members. He grows into a...more
Ashley
I was really struggling for something to read and Robb had this, so I read it. It was pretty good timing, considering March Madness was on in the background. This book is about Pat Conroy's last basketball season at the Citadel. While I sometimes skimmed through the lengthly play-by-play details of each wrenching game, Conroy did have some really poignant comments about the past and how we view and define ourselves through key moments in our past, even many years later.

Two examples of things tha...more
Suzanne
I love Pat Conroy's writing style. So detailed, fluid, and multi-layered. I imagine it is difficult to edit his work. He certainly could say things more succintly, but you would lose the flavor of his work.

Conroy's ability to think back to the minute details of his childhood and college years is impressive. I know he was able to refer back to school papers and records, but he also seems to be able to retrieve the emotions. I don't have the skill to reach back that effectively, so I appreciate i...more
Kevin
I hesitated before I decided to listen to this book. Heard about it reading the comments in a column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about being a great sports book. I never read any of Conroy's works before. I narrowed it down to John Feinstein's A Season on the Brink. I've read a number of his books and liked them. In the end, something about a losing season at The Citadel appealed to me, so I ordered it.

While I thought I would be reading a sports book, this book is so much more than that. It i...more
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Pat Conroy is the New York Times bestselling author of two memoirs and seven novels, including The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and The Lords of Discipline. Born the eldest of seven children in a rigidly disciplined military household, he attended the Citadel, the military college of South Carolina. He briefly became a schoolteacher (which he chronicled in his memoir The Water Is Wide) befo...more
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“Do you think that Hemingway knew he was a writer at twenty years old? No, he did not. Or Fitzgerald, or Wolfe. This is a difficult concept to grasp. Hemingway didn't know he was Ernest Hemingway when he was a young man. Faulkner didn't know he was William Faulkner. But they had to take the first step. They had to call themselves writers. That is the first revolutionary act a writer has to make. It takes courage. But it's necessary” 50 likes
“The great teachers fill you up with hope and shower you with a thousand reasons to embrace all aspects of life. I wanted to follow Mr. Monte around for the rest of my life, learning everything he wished to share of impart, but I didn't know how to ask.” 39 likes
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