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49 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
As usual Pat Conroy has written a very readable book. I will probably read it again as I raced through it. I am a fan of Pat Conroy's writing.
Published 7 months ago by rosebud

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Great Santini
Although I am quite taken with Pat Conroy, I was not particularly fond of this book. The characters were not believable enough to develop feelings for and Bull Meecham was not a likeable character at all. I love the descriptive "poetry" he uses in his novels, though. Many other readers seem to love this book- maybe it's a military family thing.
Published on Jan. 29 2000


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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read, Dec 8 2013
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This review is from: The Great Santini (Kindle Edition)
As usual Pat Conroy has written a very readable book. I will probably read it again as I raced through it. I am a fan of Pat Conroy's writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure pleasure in the language and writing!, Nov. 14 2013
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This review is from: The Great Santini (Kindle Edition)
Have been a fan of Conroy since reading The Prince of Tides many years ago. For some reason, I had not read this book but decided to read it prior to starting his newest release, The Death of Santini. There are only a handful of writers today who an use language the way he does!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Book from Pat Conroy, Sept. 21 2001
By 
Elizabeth Madison (Clarksburg, WV) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bad Dad Disease, June 23 2004
By 
David C. Roller (United States) - See all my reviews
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Summer 2004 Reading List - Mini Review
The Great Santini is a pretty good coming of age story. It is not bad as an embracing-your-southern-heritage story. But it shines when it humanizes a monster of a Dad and shows how families of dysfunction operate and compensate.
Conroy blends humor and morbidity in this somewhat autobiographical look at growing up as a marine kid in the South.
I prefer Ordinary People when it comes to dysfunction, and A Walk To Remember when it comes to southern coming of age but this is still a good and thought provoking read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Conroy Strikes Gold Again!, Sept. 14 2003
By 
Annabel (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing!!!, Aug. 19 2003
By 
Mike Ross (Maui, HI USA) - See all my reviews
This was one of the most astonishing books i have read in a long time. The life of a Marine child is not easy, considering that physical and mental edurence that one has to adapte to when having a father such as Bull Meechem. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who has an intrest in dark humor, and the sarcasiem of a school boy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Insight into life in a military childhood, March 31 2003
By 
J. Vess "julieannv" (Simpsonville, SC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is the second book of Pat Conroy's that I have read (the first was "The Water is Wide", which was his first book, I believe). It was gripping, disturbing, uplifting, all the more so, because he based it on his own relationship with his father. I especially found it admirable that he was able to be so brutally honest about his feelings towards his father, mother and institutions like the Catholic church.
This all hit home with me, having been raised by a mother who was a devout Catholic as a child (and carrying all the attendant guilt that goes with it) and also having a husband who, after 17 years in the Army, can tend towards being a bit heavy-handed with my (and his) children and unable to express his feelings. I can see parallels in this book with the experiences my sons must have gone through trying to relate to their step-dad.
This is a well-written book which I would highly recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Santini, Jan. 26 2003
By 
Erin O. (Toledo, OH USA) - See all my reviews
This novel by Pat Conroy is an amazing contemporary novel that leads you through the life of a military family in the late 1950's. This book hits home having several family members, two being pilots and one a marine, that have served in the military, and it was a difficult book to put down. In many ways, the "Great Santini" reminded me of my father; a man that at times is both loved and hated by his family. Colonel Bull Meecham is a marine fighter pilot that demands respect as the "Great Santini" by both his family and his flight squadron. His oldest son Ben, a senior in high school, struggles with the relationship that he has with his father, who he hates very much but loves and respects. If not for Lillian Meecham, wife of the "Great Santini" and peacekeeper of the household, the harsh and sometimes abusive father would release his wrath without a second thought. From the witty remarks of Mary Anne to the competitiveness between Ben and his father, The Great Santini creates a family persona that many can relate. The Great Santini takes you through the difficulties of a year in the life of a southern marine family after the Korean War. I highly recommend entering the past and becoming a member of the Meecham family by reading The Great Santini. This non-stop novel reaches heights of laughter and tears and is well worth reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good, July 28 2002
By A Customer
I decided to read this book on a bit of a whim. We were vacationing on Hilton Head, near Conroy's hometown, and I wanted to become better acquainted with this talented author's work while in his neck of the woods. I'd just finished reading "The Prince of Tides," which was a little disappointing (not bad, mind you, just different than I'd expected.). Of the two, I actually preferred "The Great Santini." This book, the tale of a Marine family temporarily based in South Carolina in the early 1960s, was both warm and bittersweet. The descriptions of the setting were dead on, just as one would expect it would be since it's situated in the author's home state. (BTW - the movie was filmed in Beaufort, S.C. - a real treat of a destination.) Be advised that there are troubling moments of family conflict, including domestic violence. But what is so compelling is the way that the reader becomes drawn to all of the family members -- even to bellicose Bull, the father. Particularly memorable is a chapter toward the end when Bull is flying through the night sky. It is one of the most moving and heartwrenching passages that I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Even if you've already seen the movie, you'll find this a worthy read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars If you know you're..., Oct. 22 2001
By A Customer
a civilian, you aren't one. A fine coming of age story with special appeal for military brats of all persuasions. Conroy hits the low and the high points with painful accuracy. Especially worth a read in these troubled times, if your own experience has not let you peer into the closed world of the military and their families. A good, fast read, that stands up to a second inspection. Better than the film.
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The Great Santini: A Novel
The Great Santini: A Novel by Pat Conroy (Paperback - March 26 2002)
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