Matt's Reviews > My Reading Life

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy
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M_50x66
's review
Dec 15, 10

bookshelves: southern-literature
Read in December, 2010

In My Reading Life I discovered a lot of things about Pat Conroy that I did not know. He calls to some scenarios in his life and also books that shaped his prose and influenced the directions of some of his written works. He revealed why he never returned to teaching and how he discovered his own voice amongst his writing and recollections of his childhood. He speaks about why we should read. He fed us numerous examples of books that have changed his views of himself and his shy place in this world. I have felt many times myself certain books carry you away and teach you to look at the moon in a certain way as his teacher taught him to always know the phase of the moon. The same is true of a stream or the wind or the people that are all around us and touch our lives. Books spike our curiosity of the world. He described books as a passport to an imagined world a way out of his depressing life and even goes as far to say that if it wasn't for books he would have taken his own life. He found characters in his book as companions even when he had no companion.

He also shows us how a writer should write. He gave examples in his own life of his various influences who taught him to be an honest writer and to write with a purpose and not just to write. Pat Conroy's life story is very unique but the one thing I like about his writing is that he helps us recall our own childhood when we felt the same feelings that he does. It is why we enjoy reading "his story" because we learn about ourselves. He states that when you write you need to make your descriptions distinct. It is not just a butterfly, a rose, or a stream. I am from Charleston and every time I go out in the Charleston Harbor in a boat I remember the way that Pat Conroy starts the book South of Broad with the description of the Cooper River and the Ashley River meeting to form the Atlantic. That is distinction!

I learned a lot from this book but was not overwhelming pleased on a whole. I wanted more. I wanted the book to flow better. It was not put together like a normal Pat Conroy book that takes 12 years to write. I don't think that was what it was supposed to be but he sets his own bar It jumps back and forth in his life and there is no flow between the stories each with similar conclusions but a chapter at the end that makes a little different conclusion. Also it did not give us any present day examples. I wanted to know about his life on Fripp, his current marriage. His writing of the South of Broad or Beach Music (which he eludes to once). I will use this book as a guide as I sink my teeth into many of the great novels he discusses but I still what want more from Pat Conroy.
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