Inspired by his life as a kid growing up with a military dad, Pat Conroy delivered a book so surreal that a character like Bull Meecham will stick with you as someone you’d all be willing to hate and all too caring to love. As most of his books, The Great Santini threaded the similar structure of some of his equally well-beloved novels. A domineering and most of the time abusive father, a strong willed yet passive for a mother and children whose strengths were formed over the years through a tumultuous childhood.
I became an instant fan of Pat Conroy when I first read one of his novels, the Beach Music (my all time favorite) and I eventually read most of his books I could get my hands into including The Prince Of Tides, The Water Is Wide, The Lords Of Discipline, South Of Broad and this masterpiece published in 1976 and was made into a film in 1979 starring Robert Duvall.
Derivative from his experiences, it is always a pleasure reading one of Mr. Conroy’s novels. Santini’s authenticity reduce me into half-hysteria that more often than not, I find myself all too depressed to continue reading after a chapter yet too eager to know how things turned out for the characters that I came to love and root for. Bull Meecham or the Great Santini in the book reminded me so much of my father when I was a little boy and overtime, realized how I missed those days when my Tatay’s words are the law at home which eventually subsided as he was consumed by age and eventually by death. (I’d take all his orders with glee just to see him now)
In some ways, I love how I could relate with the Meecham kids. I just love how a book like this could easily place itself in a territory of my heart and evoke certain memories from my long forgotten yet missed past – that is the power of The Great Santini.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars