I have to say, this is probably my least favorite of all of Pat Conroy’s books. That said, Conroy is my favorite author of all time, so even his “worst” is still fabulous literature. Conroy just has a way of capturing both the South and the complexity of relationships. Even when words are not spoken, you can sense the tension or, in some cases, underlying love between two characters.
In “The Great Santini” we meet the Meechum family. Patriarch Bull Meechum is a Colonel – a Marine fighter pilot – and runs a tight ship. His wife and children fear and claim to hate him, yet they harbor a deep love and need to please him. His son, Ben, usually bears the bulk of Bull’s tough love. As he turns 18, he struggles to find his own way as a man in a small Southern town rife with racial tension, while still becoming the type of man his father will be proud of.
3.5 out of 5 stars.