One of the best books I've read...Interesting story about a unique group of people (residents of the barrier islands off South Carolina) which makes the book worthwhile on that basis alone. To me, however, the main draw is Conroy's brilliant use of language. The author uses the cadence of the place and he does not shirk from words- rich beautiful complex words. The usage is not the sometimes tortuous meandering of an author like J.D. Salinger but it is definately above the level of the daily news. All of Conroy's books are a joy to read but this first (nonfiction)venture tells us much about the South Carolina roots of his writing. Lavon
Rarely do I give books a "10" rating. Pat Conroy's true tale of teaching on an island off South Carolina is an amusing and sometimes depressing story of teaching in a community that isn't as open to education than the administration would like you to think. I found myself wanting to go back into the classroom to perform miraclesd, too.
This book was first published in 1972. An autobiographical account of Pat Conroy's year teaching on an island off the coast of SC, the author draws a compelling picture of island life and the way the education system failed the children. Curiously, though, although Conroy exposed the children to a far larger world, I was not left with an understanding that he had achieved any educational breakthroughs with the children. There is only a brief reference to some of these older children beginning to read and others to count. I was left wondering what became of these children as adults, and if their children and grandchildren have been better served by our educational systems. Since my copy was published in 2002, an updated afterword from the author would have been most welcome.
And even as I was torn between my hope that this book was dated, that society has changed, and my suspicion that the world has not changed as much as I would like, I found an article in the April 16th (2010) Wall Street Journal about a lawsuit proceeding about evidence of racial discrimination at Turner Industries, in Louisiana. The article describes, nooses, racist graffiti, and pay discrimination and notes that the EEOC "makes reasonable cause findings such as the one issued on Turner Industries in only a small fraction of the cases that are filed with it each year. In fiscal 2009, for example, the EEOC received 33,579 complaints involving racial discrimination; only 1,201, or under 4%, received the reasonable cause determination." And I wonder - how many complaints are never filed? And how many pockets are there in our country in which children are never really given a chance to learn?
Never disappointed with a novel by Pat Conroy. This is a most unusual book about a white idealist young man taking a teaching position on an island of all black people off the coast of South Carolina. Bigotry at it's fullest and tenderness in full fight mode.
I'm a biased Conroy fan--he's always captured me w/his powerful prose--but I believe I'd find this story enthralling no matter who wrote it, as long as it was written as truthfully, transparently. It's a poignant disclosure of a hidden slice of American culture, and though it's just a slice and it's hidden, it explains much about who we are and how we got here. I appreciated Conroy's treatment of the topic. Such raw love and brashness would not, I believe, be tolerated in schools these days, but it communicated clearly and effectively to his students and their families. I wanted him to have more time with those kids...
Fabulous book, inspiration for the movie titled "Conrack", starring John Voight. A true story of a teacher who begins his teaching career by teaching a group of illiterate, poor black children on an island off of South Carolina. The author, Pat Conroy, went on to become a renowned author of such books as "The Lords of Discipline" and "The Prince of Tides"
This is one of Conroy's nonfiction books, but still ranks among the best of any story-teller's works. The reader quickly identifies with Conroy's challenges and comes to love his approach to teaching. This is a fun book to read despite knowing in advance the unsatisfactory ending. Highly recommended.
The triumphant story of one man's battle for the kids on a forgotten American island.
The island is nearly deserted, haunting, beautiful. Across a slip of ocean lies South Carolina. But for the handful of families on Yamacraw Island, America is a world away. For years the people here lived proudly from the sea, but now its waters are not safe. Waste from industry threatens their very existence -- unless, somehow, they can learn a new life. But they will learn nothing without someone to teach them, and their school has no teacher. Here is Pat Conroy's most extraordinary human drama -- based on the true story of a man who gave a year of his life to give an island and a people a new lifetime.
Pat Conroy also wrote best-seller "The Prince of Tides" and "The Great Santini."
About life on an island in South Carolina where people who have lived proudly from the sea but the water becomes unsafe from waste from industry. This tells how they learn how to live new lives and about the person who teaches them.