Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book 12- South of Broad

This is one of the best books I've ever read in my life. This is the best book I've read since Chris Moore's Fool. South of Broad is lush, almost tangible, wonderful, and a novel readers can sink their teeth into.

Told by Leo King, aka Toad, he oscillates the telling of this story which is between his the summer of his senior year of high school and that school year, and his adult life. It's the story of Toad the reporter in heart of the South, in Charleston, South Carolina. It's the story of him, his friends, their ghosts and demons, and the strength of the bonds of friendship that no one nor nothing can destroy.

I've read on other Pat Conroy novel, Prince of Tides, and I was not impressed at all, and didn't not enjoy the book, nor the film. I've tried to read other books by him to no avail. I gulped large when Bragger suggested this because I wasn't sure. I've had so many other recommend it so I dove in, and I cannot say how happy I am to have read one of the best books ever written.

Conroy so obviously loves words and I feel like my reading of this was a love affair that lasted a month long. I usually blow though a novel in a few days, and I started this with the same intent and slowed myself down to read at the same leisurely pace that the story unfolded... read at the slow moving pace that seems part of the way of life in the South I had a love affair with the words, the lush descriptions, the stringing of phrases, the vividness that paints the South, the City of Charleston (and San Fransisco) and the rich lives of these characters who became people to me for the last 28 days. The words and his writing could wrap around me like a blanket and it was warm and delicious. His story was so real, I could almost touch it, he used such perfect words.

These characters jumped up off the page and made me laugh and cry and smile. My heart broke for Leo and Trevor and Sheba. I wanted to despise Chad and hug Niles. I cheered for Ike and Betty and wanted to smack Molly and Lindsay. I didn't want it to end. This was a full, delectable tale, told at a languid pace with the perfect rich language that I associate both with the South. I moved at a slow pace along this journey that was a story telling.

This book makes me wish I was a Southerner born and bred, rather than in my heart. I might not have lived south of Broad, a very social distinction among those who are the haves and have nots of Charleston, bit I certainly could have tried.

Thank you Bragger for having me read this, and many thanks to Pat Conroy for spinning a tale that touched me. And I'm sorry for those of you who didn't read it.