Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Losing Season: A Memoir” as Want to Read:
My Losing Season: A Memoir
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

My Losing Season: A Memoir

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  6,883 Ratings  ·  418 Reviews

“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
Paperback, 432 pages
Published August 26th 2003 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published January 1st 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about My Losing Season, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Robert Genevro My answer is for you to develop your own answer. What was it like to experience a losing season in the sport you love?

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Cathrine ☯
Apr 04, 2016 Cathrine ☯ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Pat Conroy, basketball or sports, and students of life's lessons
In these autobiographical pages the author delves into his heartbreaking childhood at the mercy of a brutal father and his four years as point guard for the Citadel basketball team through its final losing season. It's a true life coming of age tale recounting how the game helped him become the man who wanted to be the writer. He describes his book as “an act of recovery” and explains how "losing prepares you for the heartbreak, setback, and tragedy that you will encounter in the world more th
Apr 15, 2012 Ron rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Linda Hart
Mar 20, 2015 Linda Hart rated it really liked it
If you *love* basketball you will love this recounting of Conroy's senior season as a member of the Citadel basketball team. A touching meditation on loss and pain, Conroy's diction in this work is masterful; If, as I, you are merely a Conroy fan, you will enjoy learning more of who and what shaped this writer. In writing about basketball, Conroy finds a vessel to chew, interpret, and shape so much of his past, and out of it life's meaning.

“There is no teacher more discriminating or transformin
Feb 11, 2009 John rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 03, 2013 David rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Feb 07, 2013 Kyle rated it it was amazing
"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
Mar 26, 2012 Corinne rated it liked it
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
Conroy will always be one of my favorite writers because of "The Prince of Tides," "Lords of Discipline" and "The Great Santini." He writes beautifully and has true command of the English language. But this book was so painfully boring that I finally decided to give up after reading 200 pages. There are way too many books I want to read, I shouldn't waste my time on books that I dread picking up.
Jan 22, 2016 Betsy rated it really liked it
I was first introduced to author Pat Conroy when I read 'South of Broad', which I loved. I also enjoyed 'My Losing Season', based on his senior year of college at The Citadel. In addition to focusing on the basketball team's woes and their tyrant coach, Conroy weaves in the conflicts he had throughout his childhood with his physically and verbally absusive father as well as the lasting affects that has had on his life. I found the last 100 or so pages the best part of the book.
Jan 27, 2012 Glenn rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 16, 2015 Kelly rated it really liked it
I didn't expect to like this book, as I don't follow basketball (or really sports at all). But this isn't a basketball story, it's a lovely and poignant coming of age story. It made me want my son, who is just a little tyke now, to know the beauty of being a part of a team.
Lori Masad
Oct 05, 2016 Lori Masad rated it really liked it
I fell in love with Pat Conroy's writing style after moving to S.C. (he's from here). Up until that point, I had not read any of his books or seen any of his movies. Now I'm obsessed. I'm nearly through all of his books, but it took me until this one, "My Losing Season", to truly understand his relationship with his father. This book, even more than "The Death of Santini", helped me gain that understanding and it made me smile when I reached the very end. I listened to the Audible version, which ...more
Feb 18, 2010 Danielle rated it really liked it
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
Dec 14, 2009 Rob rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 12, 2009 Jacki rated it liked it
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
Feb 28, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
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 ...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 ...more
Paula Dembeck
Jun 20, 2016 Paula Dembeck rated it it was amazing
I really enjoy this author. A great memoir, at times heart breaking.
This is the story of Conroy's last season playing point guard for the Citadel Bulldogs. He had a difficult home life and we see how the humiliating abuse from his father affected his sense of self. Basketball became a personal refuge for him as he battled to move from being a mediocre player to something better. At military college he endured the abuse of the plebe system, but a warm relationship with an English professor and hi
James Morgan
Jun 07, 2016 James Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Conroy displays a great story line in this spectacular memoir. His reflection on that fateful senior year is heart-warming and well as upsetting. He really makes you feel like you were a part of the team, like an insider to all the turmoil and madness. This book get to me because I am an athlete, and the feelings he expresses I have also felt. I find myself relating to almost every circumstance he suggests, besides the strict religious and father things. Overall, this book is great for any ...more
As much as I love reading Pat Conroy, this one only seemed "okay" to me. The majority of the action takes place as Conroy is a point guard at the Citadel. Although not everything takes place on the court, most does.

We still "Santini" and an upstanding Pat with reminiscing.

As a native Ohioan, I am irritated by mispronunciations of a couple of Ohio cities - one I taught in.
Apr 29, 2015 Kiessa rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography-memoir
I love this author, and expected so much more from his autobiography. It was thoroughly uninspiring and I would never recommend it. In fact, there was so much basketball in here, he should have just taken a ball to the court for all I got out of this. What a waste of a good writer's skill.
Feb 17, 2009 Simon rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 03, 2016 david rated it liked it
This is autobiographical. One by Conroy that I did not particularly like.
Nov 02, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction-auto
Patis always good.
Nov 10, 2016 Korey rated it it was amazing
Loved the writing, loved the story. In-depth details of being a college basketball player. Bigger story of overcoming adversity. Now I want to read all his books!
Nov 30, 2016 Keith rated it it was amazing
I loved the book and I recommend it for anyone that loves sports.
Oct 08, 2016 Kissmekate rated it really liked it
Schon während seiner Schulzeit entdeckt Pat Conroy seine Liebe zum Basketball. Der Sport ist es, der ihm im Teenageralter endlich einmal an einer neuen Schule schnell die Türen öffnet - als Sohn eines Kampfpiloten, der alle paar Jahre versetzt wird, muss Conroy schon als Kind ständig umziehen und hasst kaum etwas mehr, als immer wieder "der Neue" zu sein.

Nach seinem Schulabschluss wird Conroy in die renommierte Militärakademie "The Citadel" aufgenommen, die für ihre harte Disziplin und Leistungs
Paul Lyons
Jul 08, 2016 Paul Lyons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An excellent and moving confessional exploration of innocence, victory and tremendous adversity by a man who has lived through it all. After years of fictionalizing his life, author Pat Conroy opened up his hidden soul and revealed the truth behind his world. In “My Losing Season”, the author dares to confront the miserable wreckage of his past, in all of its gory detail, in order to reclaim it for the triumph that it actually is.

The title of the book is indeed misleading. Yes, it’s true: Pat Co
Apr 02, 2015 Margaret rated it liked it
I could be the only person in the world whose first Pat Conroy book was his sports memoir My Losing Season instead of one of his better known novels like Lords of Discipline, The Great Santini or Beach Music. But Charleston, SC made me do it. I just enjoyed my first trip to this southern stunner, and I toured the Citadel with a friend from SC who'd read this memoir. I can also blame my kids. My teenage son T-Bone and tween daughter The Bug both play basketball. He devours it; she's a work horse. ...more
Oct 23, 2009 Jason rated it really liked it
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Success of Pat Conroy's basketball career 8 24 Mar 15, 2013 06:05PM  
  • The Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory and Honor in Division I College Basketball
  • Life on the Run
  • In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle
  • A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton
  • Counting Coup: A True Story of Basketball and Honor on the Little Big Horn
  • Eagle Blue: A Team, A Tribe, and a High School Basketball Team in Arctic Alaska
  • Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter
  • Somebody Told Me: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: A Lifetime in the Game
  • Heaven Is a Playground
  • The Story of My Father
  • The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship
  • Bang the Drum Slowly
  • The Gold Standard: Building a World-Class Team
  • A Coach's Life
  • Underbelly Hoops: Adventures in the CBA - A.K.A. The Crazy Basketball Association
  • Play Their Hearts Out: A Coach, His Star Recruit, and the Youth Basketball Machine
  • Epiphany: Stories
Pat Conroy (1945 - 2016) was 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 Wate ...more
More about Pat Conroy...

Share This Book

“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” 72 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.” 64 likes
More quotes…