I picked up the eBook of The Prince of Tides: A Novel written by Pat Conroy back in April of last year as a BookBub deal.
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.
4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy”
I’ll probably pass on this one. Although my mental health is fine, and I’m rarely emotionally unstable, life is too short and full of its own problems to read something like this. However, I do see why this would be a very good book and why you would like it. And who knows? Someday I might tackle it. I’m not afraid of long books since I’ve read Les Miserables, Atlas Shrugged, and Battlefield Earth…a long time ago. LOL
I think it’s great that you’re reading all kinds of different books. I know there are some you like and some you don’t. But the fun is in finding out what you DO like and sometimes being surprised. 🙂
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In some ways, it made me think of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, another emotionally devastating book. I can LOVE these books, yet be cautious to recommend them just because the subject matter is so intense. I know I can’t read these types of books very often. It would be too much for me to handle! Another reason to mix it up and read from MANY genres.
I really have been surprised by what I DO like. I was at my book club last night. I did NOT like the book we were reading and didn’t finish it, but a lot of the women really enjoyed the book. Everyone has their own tastes. You can bring fifteen women in a room who have all read the SAME book, and each person will get something different out of story, based on their own life experiences. In a lot of ways, this has helped me get over some of my fears regarding my own writing. Seriously, we’ve read many prize-winning novels and had mixed feeling when it came time for group discussion. Some of us will hate the book, some will LOVE it, and the rest will feel meh about it. We rarely read a book that everyone enjoys. You really CAN’T please everybody, so why worry about it?
filled with both wonderful and horrific situations.
Sounds like life. 😀
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