Saadia's Reviews > Beach Music

Beach Music by Pat Conroy
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's review
Jan 16, 2011

really liked it

This is not an action/adventure story. More like a first person biography narrative, centered on the protagonist family and close friends and milestone events leading to the unfolding of the story over about a year in time.
My first time reading a novel by Pat Conroy so I had no idea what to expect. Very multi-layered story involving lots of characters which formed his psyche and personality. Some parts I could relate to better than others.
I enjoyed reading about the background family history around Waterford and Charleston and the stories about the ocean (the loggerhead turtles!), the marshes, the river, the hunting and fishing... I liked the relationship between the man and his beautiful daughter he was raising by himself. I understood his need to get away after the traumatic child custody wrangling with the in-laws but I did not quite understand him wanting to cut ties with his blood family.
They were certainly a very dramatic bunch, as Dr. Pitts said. So maybe that was the reason, so much pathos, so much drama. I understood the mother character being a very put upon female with lots of spunk but i did not really understand the father character being a brilliant lawyer yet the town drunk. I think the writer was trying to show that the father and mother were really not suited to each other and their mutually unsuitableness created a lot of pain and dysfunction.
Then there were the other families, the Foxes, the Elliotts, Max the Hollywood producer in obnoxious form, Ledare the Southern belle from impeccable lineage....
A lot of Jewish holocaust horrors underlying the pain in the dysfunctional families. That I could not understand, why the pain from the parents past tainted the young and sensitive Shyla to the point where she could not go on living...
Then there is the dying of the loved mother and her sending off by the men- ex husband, beloved husband, grown sons. I could relate to that.
The narrator kept wondering if he was capable of loving a woman and at the end, he finds and is able to keep a loved one. So that is a very positive ending.


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