Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

(Please bear with me; this is my first attempt at a real book review.)

Pat Conroy must have a love/hate relationship with the South. His novel, The Prince of Tides, is both an homage to and a condemnation of Southern-ness. It is the story of Tom Wingo, whose twin sister Savannah has just tried to kill herself. Again. Tom travels to New York City (which he holds in a most healthy contempt) to attempt to save his sister by telling the story of their childhood to her psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein. Using this conceit, Conroy is able to travel between the quintessential South (the small, low-country town of Colleton, SC) and the quintessential North (New York City). Tom, Savannah, and their older brother Luke have had a horrendous childhood, once which left them all severely scarred. By exploring this childhood and the events that turned them into the people they are now, Tom attempts to save both his sister and himself as well.

Tom's life is falling apart: he's been fired from his job as English teacher/football coach, his wife is having an affair, and his sister is struggling with mental illness. He learns much about himself while attempting to help his sister's psychiatrist reach into their damaged past. Ultimately, he airs a dark secret that the family has hidden for years, which may just be the key to Savannah's salvation.

Conroy’s prose is simply beautiful. There are times when I wish he’d been a tad less pretentious with his language, but his descriptions of the Carolina low-country are spot-on and gorgeous. He delves into the theme of family relationships and how those relationships make us who we are, how our past frames the person we become. He also transposes Luke’s severe love of the South with Savannah’s severe hatred of and disgust with it, while allowing Tom to fall somewhere in the apathetic middle.

I’m not a Southerner by birth, but I’ve lived in the South now for about eight years, and many of the people, places and attitudes in the book are familiar to me. Being a transplanted Yankee, I sympathize much more with Savannah than with Luke, but I share all three Wingo children’s love of the South’s beautiful landscape. And, ultimately, much more than Tom’s or Savannah’s struggles, that is what the novel is about: the South, personified, and the individuals she produces from that rough beauty.

As Savannah says near the end of the book, “The South requires that you give up too much of what you really are to even consider living here.”

This would be a perfect read for anyone participating in the Southern Reading Challenge. I plan to look for more of Conroy’s work in the future, as I really, really enjoyed this book.

Now on to Jane Eyre!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Am Spider Man

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Iron Man
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
The Flash
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Borrowed this from Book Nut.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

How Weird Is This?

I don't really want to have kids, never have. But I love playing around with names, always have. In fact, my sister and I used to have name books that we would go through and make up lists of "Fake Friends" just because we liked to play with names. Or else because we were incredibly lame children. Since I've become engaged, however, it's become very clear to me that I will probably be having at least one child. Maybe two, because I always hated those only children...spoiled.

Anyway, the Fiance' and I have already picked out our children's names. Not because we're expecting or anything, but because 1) I like to be prepared, 2) he likes to imagine the day when we will have kids, and 3) I'm apparently still obsessed with names. So we now have two boys' names and two girls' names socked away (in case we have twins) for future use. I think we did pretty well.

Now on to the major task of cleaning an apartment that hasn't been cleaned in probably a month and a half. Sigh.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I took my personal day today, since I received an e-mail last week stating that I would lose it if I didn't use it by the end of June. So it was nice to sleep in this morning and spend the early part of the day with Ricky. We just ran errands, but I like to hang out with him when I can.

Wednesday night, I made Paula Deen's She-Crab Soup recipe. Ricky hated it, as he is not a fish-lover. It was a bit fishy for me, even though I do like fish, but I ate my whole bowlful. There are plenty of leftovers, but I'm not sure I'll get through them. Even if the soup is good reheated, I'm not sure I can eat six more helpings before it goes bad, but I will sure try. I should take some of it for lunch at work next week. And it could be a lunch for me over the weekend.

Been dipping into book blogs and adding to my already ridiculously long reading list. I've spent so much time reading ABOUT books that I haven't kept up well with the one I'm actually reading right now, The Prince of Tides. It's not that the book isn't engaging, it's just that I'm obsessive-compulsive. And that I've been on vacation. And a million other things. Maybe I'll finish it this week.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Playing Catch-Up

Whew. The last couple of weeks have been busy. Between all of the book blogs I've been scouring, and my recent mini-vacation to Fort Myers to see my best friend, I've hardly had time to post.

Welcome to little Jonah Benjamin, the second beautiful son of my college roommate and her hubby!

I spent this past weekend in Fort Myers, drinking and relaxing and spending time with my best friend of 15 years (God, does that make me feel old!) It was nice to get away from the fiance' for a while, and have some time to myself to hang out with old friends. We spent a lot of time by the pool, ate at our favorite Greek restaurant on the beach, and did a pub crawl Saturday night. Quite a wonderful weekend!!!

I just wish I'd had more time for reading...