Friday, August 13, 2010

Really, Pat Conroy?

I know, I'm the worst blogger EVER. It's so pathetic that Lauren with her newborn can churn out the posts while I sit here and molder like a mildewy pile of laundry. 'Course, she can't drive so I guess she doesn't have anything better to do, but still, it's sad... very, very sad. I do have plenty of good excuses: it's hard to be me, ya'all! The list of things that are suppressing my natural charm and optimistic outlook is long and epic, rendering me unable to blog, cook, clean.... Normally, my house and children would be spotless and I'd have a clever post every damn day. As it is, however, I just sit around drinking coffee or wine (depending on what the clock says; I only get confused in the hours between 6 and 8) and trying to bury my pesky consciousness in books. I'm not even kidding.

So, anywho, the other day I was all psyched when I saw 'South of Broad', Pat Conroy's latest novel, at the library. That should be good for some escapism, I thought. And his characters are always way more screwed up than me; that should be cheery! Man, what a disappointment! It's like he went to Stereotypes R Us and picked out a buggy (like that? It's my southern touch!) full of characters: arrogant white lawyer dude; plucky and smart black folks (two, please!); a couple of junior leaguers with a wild side; a coarse, rawboned mountain family with hearts of gold; and of course, the brilliant, damaged protagonist. In this book, his name is Leo King. In other, much better books, this guy's name is Ben Meacham, Tom Wingo or Will McLean. In this one, his name is.... hold on a minute, I can't remember, and I'm not even done with it yet. Oh yeah, Leo King, that's it.

He must have hired the actual writing out to someone who took a writing workshop from Danielle Steele, because the action and the dialogue is pretty much just jackhammered into your head without any hint of sublety whatsoever. It's so bad that if I didn't know better, I'd think it was Steele herself. I'd give you some examples but I can't bear to even type them. And here's the worst part so far: Leo and his shopworn collection of pals travel from Charleston to San Francisco to find one of their friends who is missing and presumed dying of A.I.D.S in the seedy part of town. They search and search, encountering all kinds of ham-handed ridiculousness, to no avail, until they meet a guy on the trolley trying to rob them. Turns out he's an ex-NFL player that they knew back in SC, fallen on hard times, and guess what? He knows where their friend is! Oh, happy day! Naturally, after they find their friend, they get this poor hapless clown into rehab and promise him a good job back home where he belongs.

Really, Pat Conroy? This is the best you can do? I don't think so. I don't know what's going on with you, but if you're tired of writing, for God's sake, do something else! As for me, I'm totally going to finish this book, that's how bad off I am. I have to go to bed now, but first thing in the morning, with my coffee. Or my wine, whichever.

1 comment:

Helen said...

Love your book reviews. It's hard to rant and sound intelligent at the same time. You are almost able to do that. I'm impressed.