“There’s no word in the language I revere more than ‘teacher.’ My heart sings when a kid refers to me as his teacher, and it always has. I’ve honored myself and the entire family of man by becoming a teacher.” Even though Pat Conroy only taught for a year newly into his career, he always was a teacher. He taught us and me especially, such a love for his words, his sense of humor, his life and its accomplishments, and the joy he brought to me when reading his books.
“I was born and raised on a Carolina sea island and I carried the sunshine of the low-country, inked in dark gold, on my back and shoulders.”
I have been a Pat Conroy fan for ages. I started my reading journey with him with his book The Prince of Tides. I was hooked and moved onto The Lords of Discipline savoring every word and every smile and tear I shed. Although I have read all of his books my favorite will always be Beach Music. I laughed out loud, I cried big ugly tears, and I found my love for this man increase with every page. In this love of Pat, I know I am not alone. This book points to that fact, as many wrote how and what they knew and felt about Pat. He was a master author, will always have that number one place in my heart.
For me, his death from pancreatic cancer at age seventy is ever so sad. I will never get to anxiously await a new novel of his, or be able to follow his work, and hope that some day he might come to my town. However, I do have all of Pat’s books and have read each and every one, including his cookbook. savoring every word and page.
His boyhood was tragic, but he was able to move beyond it and never resort to victim hood. He moved forward, oftentimes painfully but with a hope that through his writing he might for a few hours touch another. I know he touched me in so many ways and I, too, join those who both contributed to this book as well as fellow Pat Conroy admirers.
Donald Patrick “Pat” Conroy was an American author who wrote several acclaimed novels and memoirs. Two of his novels, The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, were made into Oscar-nominated films. He is recognized as a leading figure of late-20th century Southern literature.