Customer Reviews for

South of Broad

Average Rating 3.5
( 739 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(282)

4 Star

(185)

3 Star

(125)

2 Star

(80)

1 Star

(67)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

23 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

Best of the best; conroy's most realized work

SOUTH OF BROAD is set in contemporary Charleston, and follows the life of Leo King and his handful of best friends through the latter half of the last century, roughly the late sixties till the ninties. Like all Conroy novels, this one is full of drama, action and breat...
SOUTH OF BROAD is set in contemporary Charleston, and follows the life of Leo King and his handful of best friends through the latter half of the last century, roughly the late sixties till the ninties. Like all Conroy novels, this one is full of drama, action and breath-taking prose - no other living southern writer compares. It is shorter and faster moving than Prince of Tides or Beach Music, and offers a realistic portrayal of American Catholicism rare in recent literature, all clothed in typical smart-ass Conroy humor.

posted by Jenk88 on April 24, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

???

OK, maybe I just don't "get it", but I'm trying very hard to keep reading this book. I'm maybe a quarter of the way through it and I just cannot get into it. It's not pulling me in at all. The characters seem totally unbelievable to me. What kids who were teens in t...
OK, maybe I just don't "get it", but I'm trying very hard to keep reading this book. I'm maybe a quarter of the way through it and I just cannot get into it. It's not pulling me in at all. The characters seem totally unbelievable to me. What kids who were teens in the late 60's actually talked and acted that way? I'm trying to finish this book because of the other really great reviews, but I have to force myself to pick it up.

posted by Anonymous19 on August 31, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 125 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 7
  • Posted July 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Recommend only for die-hard fans

    South of Broad centers around Leo King, otherwise known as "Toad' by his friends and enemies alike. Part of the book is set when "Toad" is in his late teens, and he's had a rough life. A family tragedy has caused a huge rift in his family, and caused him to have a mental breakdown. The summer before his senior year of high school he makes an eccentric group of friends, and these friends will be close to him into adult hood. These friends bring their own sets of troubles and problems.

    I was so excited to get my hands on an ARC of this book. I loved both The Prince of Tides and Beach Music; and was thrilled to see that Conroy had written another novel. Unfortunately, I found this book very disappointing. I'm not sure if it's just that my tastes have changed in the years since he's last published a novel, or if this book truly isn't that good. Don't get be wrong, I did love a few things about it. Some of the writing is beautiful, especially when he describes Charleston and South Carolina. Wonderful imagery of the ocean, tides, beaches. But the plot is so predictable and cliched. You can seen any "secrets" coming way before they are revealed, including the big secret at the end which was probably just about the biggest cliche in the whole book. Then there's the dialogue, which is melodramatic and "cutesy" to the point of being unbelievable (who talks that way in real life??). And the do-gooder main character, who is probably the most unrealistic teen age boy I've ever read about. Also, some of the characters are so stereotypical they are almost laughable: the flamboyant gay, the so-awful-and-insane-it's-cartoonish bad guy, and the token black couple with their "ghetto" speak. Plus, there were a few scenes that were so ridiculous they are laughable. For instance, a scene where adults in their 30s reinact a high school pep ralley, complete with cheers. Vomit inducing.

    All in all, I'm glad I read the book since I'm sure many will love it and it will be greatly hyped. But, for those who fell in love with his earlier books, it may end being a disappointment like it was for me.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    More crazies than the pan can handle

    Very well written. Suspenseful and sometimes touching. Conroy has conjured up the most disturbed people imaginable and put them all in one school district. I found the plot just too far fetched and the characters over the top. I finished it but don't think I am healthier for the experience.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 13, 2009

    Not a very original effort

    The topic is not very original and involves the usual Conroy scenarios:South Carolina, the ocean,the Citadel, bad(murderous) fathering in one case, a superfather for the main character.The behavior and the dialogue of high school students is not reasonable.The San Francisco sojurn is ludicrous.A nun with a Ph.D, for the main character's mother-absurd.Reads fast but the underlying theme of tragedy and terminal salvation, after death,dismemberment, etc isn't plausible.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 7, 2010

    I love Pat Conroy's Book, But This is Not His Best

    I have been waiting for a new Pat Conroy book for so many years. I've read them all (well, not his cookbook). Beach Music is one of my favorites and his memoir My Losing Season is terrific. So, even though this book has received mixed reviews, I definitely wanted to read it. For the most part, I think the reviews have been on target.

    Conroy has command of South Carolina is word and his writing and phrasing are beautiful and take you directly to that world. But for me this book never really rang true. The characters are so different from each other that I can not believe that in just one year they develop the type of bond & friendship that is the foundation of the story. The book jumps back and forth from 1969 to 1989 and perhaps if there was more insight to the intervening years it would make sense to me, but as it stands, it does not.

    In addition, the big "reveal" at the end of the book was not at all a surprise to me - I had figured that out pretty early on and was just waiting for it to be brought to light. By the time it is revealed, all the related players are no longer around so the climax actually feels very anti-climactic and loses its dramatic impact.

    Overall, It's not a bad book - just disappointing when you know that the author is capable of producing something so much better.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    South of Broad

    Charleston, South Carolina, especially the South of Broad area, is such a fascinating location with so much beauty, history, adventure opportunities, and intrigue that I expected to be immersed in the South of Broad experience promised by the title. Unfortunately, once the story moved away from South Carolina, I was so thoroughly disappointed to leave the area and more than a little disgusted with the subject matter, this book rests unfinished on my night table. Guess I'll finish it one of these days, but it will only be due to insomnia. I wish someone would write a real South of Broad novel since it could be fantastic.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Pat Conroy delivered in the past

    I'm sure he'll deliver in the future.

    Good for escapism.

    A great true story which will leave you breathless is listed below.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great characterizations again by favorite author!!!!

    This long awaited novel by a most favored author really did not disappoint, although, there was something missing-----Pat Conroy's story-telling is superb and he paints such a clear picture of his characters and places that you are so easily transported to their world. I just felt that there could have been more depth, like in Beach Music and in Prince of Tides. However, it was an enjoyable read and left me wanting more, so I hope he does not wait too long for another of his wonderful, wonderful tales.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 6, 2009

    Disappointed

    There were intermittent passages where Conroy seemed to be on his game, but overall the characters were standard issue, the plot was somewhat silly and disconnected, the dialogue was unbelievable and the book was overlong.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Pat Conway not at his best.

    Not up to Prince of Tides or Beach Memoirs. Description of characters not developed. Too much dialique and not enough discription of place's or emotions.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    OK. Too complicated for me with so many weirdo characters.

    Interesting story. Too many goody, goody outcomes to situations he invented. The hurricane desciption was exciting but the antagonist father of the twins is forgotten and ignored for too long in the back and forth meanderings of the story.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Waited so Long

    The book was hard to read and boring and I read it in one day. I wanted to like it so much since I loved his other books. I teared up a few times, but I didn't like the characters and the plot jumped for me. It was eerie and strange. Mr. Conroy must have a lot of experience with mental illness since it is a topic he stays with but in this book, I thought everyone was mentally ill. The setting was vivid and the best part of the book. His descriptions of Charleston are astounding. Also, I haven't had to look up the definition of so many words since William Buckley's spy series. That is distracting and using a never used word for effect is time consuming and insulting to the reader. Ah, well...maybe in another 10 years I'll buy his next book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Enjoyable read

    Book club participation means reading books I wouldn't otherwise by authors I know nothing about. South of Broad starts out a little shakily as an unlikely cast of characters assembles at the start of their senior year in high school. At first, it seems as though the story is going to revolve around coming of age during the first year of school desegregation in Charleston. But it quickly jumps 20 years into the future when the friendships first forged in 1969 are tested. Some of the plot lines were resolved by calling on the "Deus ex Machina" ("get thee to a nunnery," innocently locked doors,...) and the reviewer who notes that Catholicism runs deep but with a mostly light touch through the book is right. Overall South of Broad is an enjoyable read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    50/50

    I love all of Pat Conroy's books, and I also love Charleston since my family lives there. However, I must say taht my first impressions at early stages were not good and I put the book down soon after I bought it in mid-2010. Just this summer, I picked it up again and offered it another try. I am glad I did. On the one hand, I can agree with some of the negative reviews about the stereotypes and that the ending seemed a bit rushed, as so much was revealed so quickly in the last several pages. But, I have to say that the writing style and way with words that only Pat Conroy can deliver is still there behind the characters and pages of this book. I lvoe his descriptions of Charleston, and I although great for those who have never been there to learn about it through his words, it is even better for those of us who live in or know Charleston. My family lived through Hugo, albeit in Summerville, and I think pat missed the boat on truly describing the magnitude of damage that Hugo imposed, not only to downtown Charleston, but to the surrounding areas and suburbs - even up to Charlotte. All-in-all though, whenthe book ended, I wanted more...and to me, given the "minuses" of this book, that is what counts to me. I judge a book by how it leaves me feeling when I read that last page, and paragraph... I loved the Toad's "last" bike ride on his old paper-route through the streets of Charleston. Gave me chills and left me wanting more of what happended to Toad and more of Charleston...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 23, 2010

    Fun to read.

    I loved the main character so much that I wanted to continue to read. Toward the end it went a bit over the top, but it was still worth reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 11, 2010

    South of Broad

    Being a Midwesterner encouraged me to carefully follow the description of Charleston, South Carolina. Lovely town and he described it well. His characters, what a combination of misfits with dysfunctional parents and some with dysfunctional lives. When I finished the book I felt I knew the characters. They were well developed. Some I loved to hate and some I loved. (part of the love hate theme Conroy created) The story had twists and turns. It was very interesting how Leo King combined his eclectic group of characters from blue bloods to orphans. Conroy included racism, AIDS, homosexuality, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. I found it difficult to believe that a former nun turned mother and school principal and a science teaching father would allow their child to take the fall for someone else. I was angry with them as it did not appear that when their first child committed suicide they did not help their second child very much. Perhaps their pain was too great. But, the whole book, I kept wondering what caused the suicide of Leo's older brother --the golden child. In the end, the reader finds out that tidbit. It left me the reader with much strong emotion. Well done.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    South of Broad not Quite up to Conroy's Best

    I have read all of Conroy's books. South of Broad is disappointing on several levels. Number 1: the dialogue seems forced at many, many places. It's as if Conroy was opting for laughter rather than truly looking into the heart and soul of Leopold, Starla, Niles, et. al. Number 2: the plotting is highly coincidental and forced. It's as if Conroy were working overtime to tie up everying into one neet little ball. Number 3: while there is some glorious prose buried in the plotting, it's not nearly as strong as you'll find in The Prince of Tides and Beach Music. Finally, many of the cbharacters are stereotypes, especially Sheba and Leopold (who is really the same character we saw in Beach Music. Still, South of Broad will hold your interest as a summer read, but it's certaininly not "literary fiction<" and it's not the best work. Truthfully, I expected much more from such a talented writer.
    Fyodor

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Good

    South of Broad was very, very good. Not as good as Conroy's Prince of Tides but close.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 5, 2009

    Cover was good - four stars.

    Book was okay - not one of my favorites - I would give it two stars.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good Book but................

    Long awaiting a Pat Conroy book, I'm a little disappointed. It's a good book, but not Pat Conroy good. He never really shows us why these people would be such good friends -- there is nothing to indicate a reason. As well, the "clever" repartee between the characters just isn't funny or clever most of the time. I found myself wondering how these people could stand each other a lot of the times -- they're just really cruel and nasty. The reason his brother killed himself? Evident as soon as the reader knows what his words were. Again, a good read, but not a Pat Conroy good read. I find myself able to put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    One of best books I'ver ever read and one of the worst.

    Conroy has gone to the dark side way to much on this one. No one should deal with that much suicide in one book.

    I rated the book very high because it is a must read, PC is PC, his normal great painting of the picture. I just wish he would deal with his demoms and move on.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 125 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 7