After re-reading The Prince of Tides (a classic), I went to my "To Be Read" pile and grabbed The Great Santini. Although, it did not 'capture' me in the way The Prince of Tides did, it is definitely a great read. Pat Conroy once again, through his lyrical words, proves what a great writer and story-teller he is. The Great Santini is a powerful story about military life and a very complex father/son relationship. I both loved and hated Colonel Bull Meecham (who is the Great Santini). I have spent over 20 years as a military wife and Conroy really "knows his stuff" as he tells the story of the complexities of a military family. Bull is a typical military officer who finds it difficult to separate the way he behaves on duty from the way he behaves as a husband and father. He wants and tries to run his family life in the disciplined, hard-fashioned way he commands his "troops." Lillian is his devoted wife who plays the "role" of a military wife perfectly (I found her relationship with her son very touching--the letter she wrote him on his 16th birthday is a tear-jerker). Ben is Santini's son who is coming to terms with life as an adolescent and his feelings about his father; he is an extremely well written character who I grew to feel sorry for and admire at the same time. Maryann as Santini's sarcastic, wise-cracking daughter was my favorite character who has her own unique way of dealing with her father that makes the reader laugh out loud but, at the same time, realize how much she is hurting and craving his love and attention. It is a great story of the very good and also the very, very bad times of the Meecham family. It is funny, touching, emotional, sad--it has everything!! I highly recommend The Great Santini or any of Pat Conroy's books. He is the best!!