The Great Santini is absolutely beautiful to read. There's something about Conroy's characters that just draws one into the vortex of their lives. Each character is so individually unique and so real, that by the end of the novel, I feel as if I had grown up with the Meecham family! Conroy is incredibly skilled at creating totally engrossing characters who each have their own struggles and motivations... (all the major characters, even minor characters are very fully developed.)
Bull Meecham and Ben Meecham of course are my favorite characters in this novel...but all of the supporting characters are not far behind. It amazes me how Conroy lets the reader so intimately into his own family history...sometimes I believe it is even more powerful than any autobiography could ever be.
One of my favorite qualities of "The Great Santini" is the dialogue. Pat Conroy is hilarious --the wit and pace of the dialogue between the characters had me laughing out loud so many times. And in trademark Conroy style, a few pages later, I'll find myself tearing up!
The Great Santini revolves around the family life of a family of a Marine Aviator Officer...the novel follows them as they are transplanted to a new South Carolina town. The story is told from the perspective of the son, Ben Meecham.
I'm always so amazed by Conroy's ability to pen a love story...his love for his characters and storytelling shines through his writing and imagery. The Great Santini is an incredible (and disturbing) look into the love of a father-son, husband-wife, man-occupation, friend-friend. Conroy also does an excellent job at exploring racial tensions and the journey of a boy becoming a man. (I'd recommend reading "The Lords of Discipline" too! Many parallel ideas....)
I absolutely love this book! I wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who wants to be swept off their feet by one of the best authors of our time.