It was Friday, and it was the last “writing” day of the month, so I intended to do Book Review instead of Home Tour. No harm, no foul right?
For March, and now leading into springtime in April, Beach Music by Pat Conroy is coincidentally a great beach read. Or an anywhere read for that matter. The book’s main character is Jack McCall, and he is wrecked and running following the suicide of his wife. Set in the broken down remnants of what was once the great Old South, this is a story about redemption and resiliency, family and healing. Laden with grief, desperately seeking peace, from a deep family history of betrayal and pain: Jack runs. He moves his young daughter to the winding streets of Rome in an attempt to rewrite her experience in this life. The story reaches across three generations and builds a terribly raw and heart-wrenching landscape of Jack’s family, and the the family of his wife.
What is so incredible about Pat Conroy’s writing is his ability to recreate experiences and bring your heart into the moment to love and come to know his characters. Jack is quick and witty, but unbearably vulnerable and damaged. His powerful but gentle nature is realized in the flashbacks from his childhood, in the history built into his daughter’s bloodline. What draws me to characters like this is in their ability to turn inward, and how perfectly particular an author can be in their construction of their experiences, their desires, and their passions. Conroy builds a ridiculously moving explanation of a family’s condition and what has brought them to this moment: how they’ve survived, and how they are still able to love one another. The landscapes and locations will take you there in your mind, and not often does an author so beautifully walk you from one continent to another. You will taste Jack’s cooking, feel the sand of South Carolina shores beneath your feet, walk the ancient streets of Rome, and your heart will break into a thousand pieces at his beautifully imperfect heart.
Let me know if you decide to read Beach Music and how you feel about it once you’re done!