Brian Eshleman's Reviews > The Lords of Discipline

The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
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Mar 09, 12

Read from March 05 to 09, 2012

If I had six stars, I would give it six stars. I've never read anything by Pat Conroy, and this has been my favorite novel -- even my favorite book outside of the Bible. Conway can reach for the poignancy that can be heavy and manipulative even in a great coming-of-age book like David Copperfield. He can shift between this intensity and dry, witty, masculine dialogue that would fit right in place in a college dorm room. The main protagonist is wisdom and yet not flawless, fully aware, for instance, of his own need to be the hero to a fault. The supporting characters make the protagonists all the more real, and the reader will react strongly depending on how they treat the book's hero. Tremendous! Tremendous! Tremendous! I can't say it enough. If you are a Southern male and you can read, you should read this. If you aren't and your desire to understand us, you should read this. If you have days when you doubt that you will really be a grown-up or are a grown-up, you should read this.
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Quotes Brian Liked

Pat Conroy
“I meditated on the nature of friendship as I practiced the craft. My friends had always come from outside the mainstream. I had always been popular with the fifth column of my peers, those individuals who were princely in their solitude, lords of their own unpraised melancholy. Distrusting the approval of the chosen, I would take the applause of exiles anytime. My friends were all foreigners, and they wore their unbelongingness in their eyes. I hunted for that look; I saw it often, disarrayed and fragmentary and furious, and I approached every boy who invited me in.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“The Bear had once confided to me that Durrell's ego could fit snugly in the basilica of St. Peter's in Rome but in very few other public places. This runaway megalomania marked him as a blood member of the fraternity of generals. If looks alone could make generals, Durrell would have been a cinch. He was built lean and slim and dark, like a Doberman. A man of breeding and refrigerated intelligence, he ordered his life like a table of logarithms.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“The mind is an intricate mechanism that can be run on the fuels of both victory and defeatism.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“Honor is the presence of God in man.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“I was the only person in the world who thought it was a military duty to appear to be in a good mood.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“My memory often seems like a city of exiled poets afire with the astonishment of language, each believing in the integrity of his own witness, each with a separate version of culture and history, and the divine essential fire that is poetry itself.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline
tags: memory

Pat Conroy
“Evil would always come to me disguised in systems and dignified by law.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“It's impossible to explain to a Yankee what `tacky' is. They simply have no word for it up north, but my God, do they ever need one.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“There were far worse strategies in life than to try to make each aspect of one's existence a minor work of art.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“I had come to a place where I was meant to be. I don't mean anything so prosaic as a sense of coming home. This was different, very different. It was like arriving at a place much safer than home.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“I would always be a better hater of things and institutions than a lover of them.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“Great teachers had great personalities and that the greatest teachers had outrageous personalities. I did not like decorum or rectitude in a classroom; I preferred a highly oxygenated atmosphere, a climate of intemperance, rhetoric, and feverish melodrama. And I wanted my teachers to make me smart. A great teacher is my adversary, my conqueror, commissioned to chastise me. He leaves me tame and grateful for the new language he has purloined from other kings whose granaries are filled and whose libraries are famous. He tells me that teaching is the art of theft: of knowing what to steal and from whom. Bad teachers do not touch me; the great ones never leave me. They ride with me during all my days, and I pass on to others what they have imparted to me. I exchange their handy gifts with strangers on trains, and I pretend the gifts are mine. I steal from the great teachers. And the truly wonderful thing about them is they would applaud my theft, laugh at the thought of it, realizing they had taught me their larcenous skills well.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“If smallness was fortune, then I had come across a treasure, infinitesimal and beyond value. I felt lucky. You had to decide what was estimable and precious in your life and set out to find it. The objects you valued defined you.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“There was always a grandeur and a nobility in my megalomania. And also something cheap and loathsome that I could not help.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline
tags: ego

Pat Conroy
“The only way I could endure being a coward was if I was the only one who knew it.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“He was ruled by the tyranny of instinct, by passion and the instant legislation of a simple heart.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“The human soul can always use a new tradition. Sometimes we require them.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

Pat Conroy
“The narrator analyzes that the maturing, passing away boy within him, "had issued me a challenge as he passed the baton to the man in me: He had challenged me to have the courage to become a gentle, harmless man.”
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline


Reading Progress

03/06/2012 page 76
13.0% "REALLY good so far. I always liked Hawkeye on M*A*S*H, and a version that is a Southerner like myself is both amusing and thought-provoking."
03/06/2012 page 174
30.0% "Flashback from the senior the reader has just gotten to know to a freshman work-in-progress is jarring. Conroy is a master, though, at sketching the maturing of the mind,"
03/07/2012 page 332
58.0% "Deep analogies like pregnancy as an inland sea right beside sharp comic dialogue."
03/07/2012 page 391
68.0% "A little surprised by the sudden sports section in the middle of a more serious story."
03/08/2012 page 440
76.0% "Will is having to find his own individual courage as distinct from wisecracking detachment. The book continues to amaze!"
03/08/2012 page 534
93.0% "Tough ending. Resigned sadness says it."

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