South of Broad by Pat Conroy (Book Review)

For the past several years I’ve been a recipient of free books from Random House.

South of BroadThe idea is that I will share the books with my book  club members and spread the word.

I appreciate the idea, I enjoy receiving gifts in the mail and sometimes … I actually enjoy the book.

In early June, I hit the jackpot when Random House sent me South of Broad by Pat Conroy.

You may remember he wrote Prince of Tides in the 1980’s. I read that book and was deeply disturbed by it. When a movie was made I had no desire to see it on the screen. That was the first and last time I read one of his books — until now.

South of Broad tells the story of a group of misfits who became friends. The uniting factor was a boy, nicknamed Toad, who glided over stereotypes, glamor, poverty and class and saw the gem of the person within. Toad had a way of making friends by acknowledging his nerdy appearance, lack of friends, criminal background, death of a sibling and estranged family relationships.

The friendships created that summer were tested again and again through the years. Some friends married, some stayed in South Carolina and others strayed.  Most of these people had their own baggage and most times it spilled over to create new drama. Throughout the novel, there was the looming presence of an evil father and the eventual understanding of a standoffish mother.

All the pieces were tied up, cleared up and explained by the time the novel ended yet I found myself reviewing it over again and again in my head.  It’s the kind of book I’d like my book club members to read so that I can get their impressions, input and criticisms.

Until that time, however, feel free to let me know what you thought of it, ok?

— Thanks Random House!

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