This book was first published back in 1986 and it’s rather long at 674 pages. I approached this book with few expectations. I had never seen the movie. I didn’t know ANYTHING about this book other than recognizing its iconic title. A librarian I know recommended this book to me. She said it was one of her all-time favorites…but also one of those books that are emotionally devastating. So while I’ve wanted to read this book for a while, I felt it would be best to wait until I was feeling strong, emotionally.
The Prince of Tides is a novel about a dysfunctional family, living in South Carolina. It’s told, almost like a mystery. As an adult, the sister, Savannah, has tried to commit suicide (not for the first time) and the reader is led through the tales of her family’s troubled history as told from the perspective of her twin brother, Tom. Why has Savannah tried to commit suicide? Tom says his childhood was horrible, but how bad was it? What happened? Each chapter of this book is almost like its own novella with stories about the three siblings, their parents, and grandparents.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book. The chapters are long. We don’t know the context of all of the information given at the start of the story. What kept me reading was the relationship between the three siblings: Luke, Savannah, and Tom. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but their relationship was always special throughout the novel.
I really enjoyed this book. It didn’t feel like dated material. I would certainly recommend reading it.
HOWEVER…it’s an emotionally devastating book. No doubt about it! You may not want to read this book if you’re in a bad place in your life. There are a lot of triggers in this book: domestic violence, mental illness, racial slurs, a fairly graphic rape scene, and adult language. This is not a teen book. This is an adult book filled with both wonderful and horrific situations.