5 stars overall / 5 stars audio narration
I got this (audio) book from the library, and concluded as I approached the end that I MUST OWN THIS BOOK! Not only must I own it, but I want it in audio & hardback format. It’s that good. I LOVE that Pat Conroy narrated this particular book himself, because it is so very personal. There is nothing in the world like hearing an author narrate his own life. Under any other reading circumstance, Pat Conroy should (and does) avoid reading his own work, as he does not have the voice to do any novel justice, but with this one he positively shines. The reason, I believe, is its intensely personal and emotional nature. It was so easy to hear how affected he was – and still is – about the experiences he relates, how passionate he is about books and words, and how grateful he is that he has had the opportunity to make a living doing what he loves to do. He does not see his life through rose-colored glasses, either. It’s clear that he is not an easy person with whom to share a life, and it’s clear that the traumas of his childhood, as well as the sweetest of moments, affected him in ways that made him both a superb writer and a emotional train wreck. He is candid about this frailty, and his writing about his experiences – even in fictional form – is clearly cathartic and healing for him. This book touched me completely, and I have more respect for him as a writer now as a result of being given this gift of his personal story.