The Prince of Tides

I thought I’d choose a review I’d already written to start things off, just to test the waters a bit.  This one is a few years old, but it came up recently when I learned that my mother started reading it.  It seemed appropriate and timely to share it now.

All of my reviews are available on my goodreads profile, but I keep that private unless you’re one of my friends on the site.  That’s part of the reason I’ve created a new space for this.

So, without further ado:

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

They weren’t kidding when they called this one an epic.  It was a bit too epic for me.  (I would almost suggest it was like Roots for poor white southern folks.)  Even the epilogue dragged on for quite some time.

I enjoyed the plot and the character descriptions, and the prose was quite lovely at times, but I never felt quite clear what the story was meant to be about – or who the main character was intended to be.

The whole book seemed to be about revelations, each story from the past providing clues to understanding the main characters’ present lives.  That was an interesting plot device, and while it took a long time to get through all that back and forth, it seemed to be leading up to something… but it wasn’t, not really.

The last story/flashback didn’t feel like it would be the last one while I was reading it, but when it ended, that was the end, as though it was intended to be some huge, meaningful culmination of all the family’s history, the last piece of the great mysterious puzzle – which, when solved, should help them all to start healing their wounds and fixing their lives.

It felt very anticlimactic to me, and left me wondering why I had spent all that time getting to know why they were all so crazy, when nothing seemed to change after all the dirty laundry had been aired and skeletons emerged from their closets.

I was almost comfortable with the way the epilogue ended, until the very last line, which – without giving anything away – made me want to punch myself in the face.

Despite that, it was involving and enjoyable for the most part, and rather well-written.  I will also give the author the benefit of the doubt here, because of the strong possibility that I simply do not understand half of what goes on below the Mason-Dixon line and thus may have missed some great meaning that was there for the taking, were I only cultured enough to receive it.


About Elizabeth M. Lee

I love to read, write, and take nature photos. I do other stuff, too.
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