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Best-selling author Conroy, whose ten previous novels include The Great Santini (1976), The Prince of Tides (1987), and My Reading Life (2010), revisits the complicated relationship he had with his father, Don, in this intimate memoir that continues to explore the Conroy family history. Early fans of his work will recognize the repeated confrontations between father and son; Don was known as the Great Santini for his feats as a pilot in the U.S. Marines. The intention here is to offer readers the final chapter on Conroy's relationship with his parents and his own late-found peace, which came at a high cost. Verdict Conroy's work has influenced many younger writers and remains in top form. The author succeeds admirably with this memoir, which is sympathetic without being sentimental, offering stories with wry humor and heartfelt affection.-Pam Kingsbury, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Conroy has long used his family to great success. The Great Santini (1976) was the portrait of his marine-obsessed fighter-pilot father and Conroy's long-suffering mother and siblings, who had to endure the violence, numerous moves, and great uncertainty created by his father. Don Conroy was from a Catholic family from the South Side of Chicago. Pat's revered mother, a real southern beauty, played by Blythe Danner in the movie, was the author's literary inspiration. She, as well as strong teachers, taught him the power of literature. His previous book, My Reading Life (2010), expands on these influences. Conroy does some name-dropping as the movie of The Great Santini had its premiere in Beaufort, South Carolina, Conroy's home, and Hollywood's biggest names turned out. In spite of the pain and cruelty, there was forgiveness, and a mature friendship was realized between Conroy and his father before the latter's death. Conroy's eulogy concludes the book and is a fine summing-up of a compelling and readable portrait of a dysfunctional family. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Conroy's many fans will be alerted to his new book by an extensive ad campaign and will welcome it for its honesty, power, and humor.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2010 Booklist