Saturday, March 10, 2012

"South of Broad" by Pat Conroy

After having to read many books for college last year, I spent the Summer reading books I really wanted to read. Among those was South of Broad by Pat Conroy. Some friends had recommended me Beach Music but I could not find the book and the summary of this one seemed pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised. This book is deep and meaningful, I loved it.

South of Broad is a 2009 novel by Pat Conroy. It follows the life of Leopold Bloom King in Charleston, South Carolina. It ranges from his troubled childhood to his adult life with his close group of friends. Leo is the son of a loving father and an ex-nun mother. After Leo's older brother, Steve, commits suicide at the age of thirteen, the family struggles, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him. He then finds a group of high school seniors with whom he will become friends: Sheba and Trevor Poe, glamorous twins with an alcoholic mother and a prison-escapee father; mountain runaways Niles and Starla Whitehead; socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend, Chadworth Rutledge X; Chad's sister not-so-feminine Fraser Rutledge; Ike, the football coach's fiery and talented son who will co-captain the team with Leo. Their liaisons will ripple across two decades - from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.
The ties among them endure for years, surviving happy and troubled marriages, unfulfilled loves and unspoken cravings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, and Charleston's dark legacy of racism and class divisions. But the final test of friendship that brings them to San Francisco is something no one is prepared for.

This book was beautiful, a real tear-jerker. I even cried on the bus reading it (although, I cry for lots of things, so I may not be a good example..). I really recommend South of Broad, even if it is about 500 pages long and it may seem like you won't even want to start it. But I can assure you, once you've started it, you will not want to put it down. Personally, the bigger the book is, the more I want to read it.

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