Saturday 14 February 2015

The Death of Santini

Finished February 14
The Death of Santini: the Story of a Father and His Son by Pat Conroy

This memoir focuses on the relationship between Pat Conroy and his father, but goes beyond that to include his mother, his maternal grandmother, his siblings, and his writing.
Conroy used his father as the model for his book The Great Santini, exposing his father's abuse in a very public way, but it would seem that his father was too hooked on the fame that came along with it to distance himself from the author.
From this book, most of the family seems damaged, highly emotional, and hooked on the limelight. They all make up stories about their lives to suit the circumstances and the audience, downplay their own responsibility for their behaviour and general seem unbelievable.
I've read a couple of other books by him that seemed much more grounded in reality, without the over-the-top emotions of this book. At times the prose is so florid that I had to put it down and take a break. While a memoir should obviously reflect the writer's view of his life, this one just read like a bad novel. I found it a disappointing read from an otherwise good writer.

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