Pat very much enjoyed hearing from his readers and was often moved and inspired by your comments.
As you know, Pat Conroy died on March 4, 2016. This site continues to be managed by his longtime friends and literary agents. You may join in a community of his readers by sharing your comments about Pat’s books or anything else that comes to mind in this guest book. We, the family, the agents and the friends are deeply moved by the outpouring of love you, his beloved readers, wrote here… Much gratitude to you all; Thank you.
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I was very shocked to find out that Pat lived on the street I grew up on in Arlington and went to the same school I attended. What a small world! I wish I would have had a chance to meet him.
It came down to writing a single letter and hoping that he would read it and possibly, write back. I left many letters unfinished, un-mailed. When he passed away, I was in disbelief. The lively man I saw in pictures couldn't just be... gone. It felt like I had lost a friend.
I would read his books on the school bus and then, late into the night. There were times when I laughed so hard at his writing, I'd have to quickly clap a hand over my mouth to be quiet and not wake my parents. There were other times when I'd set a book down for a few moments so I could hold in tears during a sad moment. I wish I hadn't procrastinated. I wish I could have at least let him know once that his words were a lifeline for me.
When the time was right, I got my little sister a copy of "The Great Santini." She called me after the first chapter to ask me if I'd be "down" to try the mushroom soup incident sometime during Thanksgiving and we laughed at the thought of orchestrating such a thing in front of uptight relatives. When she finished, she asked me with all seriousness, if we could go to the Carolinas one day and see this wonderful place for ourselves. His descriptions had intrigued her just as they did me.
I imagine that somewhere in Heaven, Pat is sitting by a dock over beautiful, clear water. In his hands, he opens a large oyster shell and the air is suddenly perfumed with the gift of his prose.
Thank you, Pat. You've given so much to so many.
The Lords of Discipline is by far the greatest book that I have ever written, errr read!! (I am a writer also) and Pat Conroy is now my favorite author, beating out the likes of Hunter Thompson and J.D. Salinger.
I read the Great Santini next, followed by The Prince of Tides and The Water Is Wide. Right now I am on page 585 of Beach Music and am finding it on a par with The Lords Of Discipline. I was daunted by its 776 pages before I started reading it, but find it to be a real page turner that I can't put down. I read it all day yesterday and today woke up at one am, on four hours sleep and am staying awake to finish off the book. Pat Conroy is by far the best, the very best, author that I have ever read.
I am a poet and a memoirist and Mr. Conroy has given me an itch to try to write fiction. I am so glad that you are keeping this website alive, because it gives me a feeling that Mr. Conroy is still with us, and that it would be possible to sometime enjoy a meal with him, or a drink, back in the days when I was drinking.--Mikel K Poet
One day a shoebox was dumped on my desk. It was the manuscript for a memoir they'd bought. It wasn't published yet, still in typewriter type and a pile of pages.
"Write something to sell it ."
Gee thanks. Started reading and wasn't sure what the title, "The Water Is Wide," meant. But it grabbed me right away.
Hmmm, this might sell some books, it was a terrific read.
I wrote what I had to, the book club edition did pretty well, and Pat Conroy ended up doing ok too.
It was cool to be at the beginning of that. RIP
I have to share this with you Mrs. King Conroy. Your husband was the keynote speaker at my sister’s college graduation many years ago. I reluctantly took my then (approximately) 6 year old son, who has ADHD, but at that time was un-diagnosed. You can only imagine an easily distracted boy, with A LOT of energy at a college graduation ceremony. Well to say that he was mesmerized the whole time Mr. Conroy was on stage is an understatement. I have never seen him listen so intently to anyone or anything, ever.
You were blessed to have this gifted, captivating individual as your soul mate and best friend and I will always enjoy telling that story. Thank you for sharing him with us.
Twenty-odd years ago, when we were living on the coast of Maine, I recall being so moved by "The Prince of Tides" that I wrote my first and only other letter to an author, sending it to the publisher with no real hope that it would ever find its way to Pat A couple of months later, to my great surprise, Pat called me at our home in Kennebunk, Maine, an act of kindness that I shall always remember.
Having also been raised as a "military brat" with an abusive father. in his remarkable way, Pat pulled the scabs off these old wounds, but in doing so was also able to apply a salve to help heal them.
I shall always be grateful for Pat's incredible insights, amazing storytelling, and his amazing ability to capture the essence of who we are, in beautiful and unvarnished ways.
As I listened to this, so much of it resonated with me. When he talked about James Dickey and how he promised himself that if he met him he would not become a blubbering idiot (not his words, mine), I thought, I felt that way about you Pat! And I did. The difference between those 2 situations I think is that he said once he met James Dickey he thought Mr. Dickey would have thought it an appropriate reaction. Lol. I don't think Mr. Conroy would have felt that way.
So much I could say! So much! But I think a big part of what I admire is that he took his pain and turned it into a thing of beauty. Without covering it up. As he said at the end of this book when he described the Japanese art of repairing pottery without covering up the crack. His skill with words made him a master at metaphor.
I will always miss his potent voice. So thankful I found it long ago.
Pat and his books will never be forgotten.
Thank you Mr Conroy for some of my favorite moments in reading.
So sad to hear of his death.