Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Don't Waste Your Time

More years ago than I remember, I read Conroy's The Great Santini and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I've read most of his other novels, less impressed with each as time went by.

When we were ready to leave for our trip to North Carolina, I picked up South of Broad to take along.  Set in the South, I thought it would be just the ticket.  People had said good things about it, so I thought Conroy might have his mojo back.

Oy.  I can't think when I've read such a dreadful book.  The folks who populate the story are all shallow, vapid creatures, who make long, ridiculous speeches to each other as a way of providing history.  They're not real; they are caricatures rather than characters.  I've never met anyone remotely like any of them.

How's this for an example of dreadful dialogue:

"'I've loved you since the day I first met you, like I told you the other night,' I tell her.

'Why?  That's stupid.  That's unheard-of.  You didn't know me, or one thing about me.'

'I knew your style.  The way you carried yourself.  Your courtesy and attentiveness to everything going on around you.  I loved your defense of Fraser the day I first met you.  I knew you were a match for Chad.  A match for anyone.  I felt your strength.  Then there was your beauty, your extraordinary beauty.  Does that answer your question, Molly, you pain in the ass?  Does that mean you won't punch me again?'"

Or this:

"Fraser says, 'It was mostly liquor talk.  You know the kind: "I love you" slurred in a hundred different ways.  "I miss all of you" slurred in a hundered others.  Classic Trevor.  If he'd been born straight, he'd have married me or Molly.  If he'd been born a girl, he'd've married Leo.  It was drunk talk sure enough, but pure Trevor.  I tried to call him the next day at his flat on Union Street, but his phone was disconnected.  I wrote him a letter, but it came back with address unknown.  So I figured he'd moved.'"

Good grief.   Do you know people who talk like that?  I don't.  (And I'm glad.)

Sure, Conroy is a master of description.  He really has a way with adjectives.  But that's about it.  The critics raved about this book.  I don't get it.  It's purely awful.  Tripe, as my mother would have said.  I'm halfway through -- haven't even reached the hurricane scene -- and don't think I can bear to go any further.

Perhaps I'll hear from the library tomorrow that my next reserve book is in.



6 comments:

Linda K said...

I've read it. I say, go check on that reserve book at the library. You'll be much happier :-)

Pat said...

Amazon was shilling this book heavily, but there was something about it that just didn't appeal. Glad I didn't bite. Thanks for confirmimng the decision.

Anonymous said...

Haven't read this one but I read a Conroy book years ago and didn't like it, so haven't picked up one since.

Nicole said...

This was the absolute worst book I have read in years. Or almost read. Here is how bad this book was: I had the book on CD version, and had stuck with well over half of it, suffering the entire time with the poor dialog, bad writing, and stupid story. Finally, about 2/3s of the way, I pulled the car over, took all the CDs out of the device and threw them into a trash can outside my local CVS store.

Juliann said...

What is next on your list? I have been stuck in the world of non-fiction and just cannot seem to get myself going on a fiction read lately. I need something really great!

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Thanks, I don't have time to waste on a book that's not worth it and I appreciate the heads up on this one. I have seen it heavily promoted.