Welcome to another edition of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse. The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers. Please join us:
This month I'm sharing The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. I had seen the movie ages ago, so I had a pretty good idea of what happened, but I certainly wasn't prepared to enjoy the writing so much. Maybe I was able to enjoy it because I did know the basic plot:
In which Tom Wingo travels to NYC in order to talk to his twin sister's psychiatrist. His twin, Savannah, has tried to commit suicide again and Lowenstein (the psychiatrist) thinks if Tom can help her understand Savannah, then maybe she'll stop trying to kill herself. The scene switches from Tom recalling his and his sibling's growing-up years on isolated Melrose Island, South Carolina to present day Manhattan. At the heart of the tale are two terrible secrets. One is the fate of older brother Luke, who we know at the beginning is dead, but not how. The other is even worse, but revealing it just might save Savannah.
***What was missing from the movie was the gorgeous language Conroy uses. I was in awe of his powers of description and the way he could tell this type of story (basically a drama) so well. In fact, I was so caught up in the story that I did what I only do with a very few books, the ones I am most invested in. I stop reading at the worse part because I'm afraid of what will happen to the characters I've grown so fond of. I always go back, of course, usually within a day or two, but it's almost like I have to prepare myself for what's going to happen next.
Also missing from the movie are the secondary characters. I vaguely recall the mother, but that's about it. In the book, the mother is this fabulously magical cruel person, while the father is mean and violent, horribly so. But he also instills this love of country in his children and that theme permeates Tom's recounting of his childhood. Plus there was a host of other characters like their religious grandfather (loved him), their grandmother (her, too) who left him and came back, this awful snooty rich family (hated their guts), not to mention all the things that happen to bond the three kids together. I was never so interested in a family's life.