Ella Burakowski's Reviews > The Great Santini

The Great Santini by Pat Conroy
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Sep 19, 2010

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Read in January, 2010

The Great Santini was not all that great. After reading Prince of Tides and Lords of Discipline I was looking forward to another of Patrick Conroy's works of art. Alas, this one was a bit of a dud. Fabulous writing and excellent character building, but the story line falls short. There were a number of smaller stories that never really went anywhere towards the full story line. They were all instrumental in building the personalities of each individual character, but did not tie in nicely with the plot, which was often non existent.

This is a somewhat of an autobiographical story about Conroy's father. The character used to portray him was Bull Meecham, a hard-nosed Marine fighter pilot admired by his peers, who tries to raise his family the same way he leads his platoon. What works well in the military, fails miserably in family relationships. I enjoyed the subtle way his sensitive side popped up now and again. Lillian Meechan, the matriarch of the family, was the padding between Bull and her children Ben, Mary Anne, Matt and Karen, but you get to see her unflattering true colours throughout the book as well. What I did enjoy was the interaction of the two teenage kids Ben and Mary Anne. They had an interesting and colourful relationship with each other as well as with their parents. Some great dialogue between these character.

The last part of the book is much better than the first part. The stories get more exciting with inclusions of race riots, rape, murder, corruption and plenty of excitement. It's unfortunate that the story just didn't hold my interest and come together well for me
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