Customer Reviews for

The Water Is Wide

Average Rating 4
( 72 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted January 3, 2011

    Master Storytelling

    First of all, I need to say that Pat Conroy is my favorite author. His writing is so full of wit, honesty, intellligence and a genuine love of the English language.

    The Water is Wide is based on the year that Mr. Conroy spent teaching isolated, impoverished African-American children on an island off of South Carolina. He brings these wonderful children to life with his marvelous gift for storytelling. The children felt very real to me and I think Mr. Conroy did a terrific job with their dialogue. It's fascinating to see how much he and the children learn from each other through the course of the year. Working in a school office myself, I found Mr. Conroy's struggles and frustrations with the administration to be very interesting. He sincerely wanted what was best for the children and wanted them to learn as much as they could about the world around them, but the administration blocked him at every turn. I found myself cheering for every small victory he achieved and booing for the times those victories were taken away from him.

    I highly recommend The Water is Wide and any other books by Pat Conroy. He truly is a master storyteller.

    19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2009

    Still Good After All These Years

    I highly recommend this book. I recently purchased this book and discovered that I had already read it, but after all, it's Pat Conroy (an incredible writer, and it had been a long time since I read it. I'm so very glad I did reread it. There are two story lines; one, a biographical story following his maturation process, and two, the story of teaching illiterate black children for just one year on Yamacraw Island. It's a very good read and one which makes you think a lot. His unconventional teaching methods and maverick ways are successful, and make him revered on the island, but a perceived problem to conventional, conservative, southern school board members.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A POIGNANT YET JOYFUL LOOK AT OUR PAST

    Following his acclaimed "The Great Santini" and "The Prince Of Tides" we have come to expect not only radiant prose but honesty and intriguing story telling from Pat Conroy. There is no disappointment whatsoever in his THE WATER IS WIDE, a memoir of the time he spent on a small South Carolina island attempting to teach the poorest of the poor who could neither read nor write. Making the task even more difficult was the fact that they spoke what is called Gullah, a type of Creole developed by the African American people living there.

    On Yamacraw (a fictional name for the island where Conroy stayed) the living is credibly stark, tantamount perhaps to a third world country. The children have nothing - of course, no television, radio or anything. One might think of them as growing up in a cultural void. Yet they're hungry to learn, even almost hypnotized by Beethoven's Fifth symphony.

    Upon arriving on the island Conroy is met by the school teacher, Mrs. Brown, a martinet if there ever was one. Her teaching methods consist primarily of striking the children or delivering verbal insults. Obviously, her methods have not been successful, so Conroy tries a much different, more relaxed approach - chairs in a circle, walks together. Eventually, his methods win over not only the children but the island's residents as well. However, Mrs. Brown and school officials remains opposed to him.

    Although in truth the island is much changed today THE WATER IS WIDE remains a heartwarming true story of what patience and understanding can accomplish. It is a poignant yet joyful look at our past.

    Highly recommended.

    - Gail Cooke

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    So Pat Conroy

    For all teachers!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2011

    Takes Me Back

    Like Pat Conroy, I once spent a year teaching students in a made-to-fail situation in the mid-1960s. I was impressed not only by his ability to turn the experience into good literature, but by his creativity as a teacher, which has carried over to his skill as a writer. I also found myself feeling very sorry for his wife because it was obvious that his students were getting most if not all of his attention.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    A must read for Conroy fans and educators everywhere.

    Pat Conroy's memoir takes us back to the earyl seventies and chronicles his early experiences as a teacher on the remote, rural, poor, and forgotten Yamacraw Island of South Carolina. An energetic, young teacher, Conroy braves the elements of the island and the waters that separate it from the mainlad each and every day with the goal of providing the poor, black children of the island a proper education. What he discovers is that providing these children with a picture of the world outside the island, and providing opportunities for real life experiences is just as important as academics. What he faces is the frustrating push-back from administration and the criticism of a world filled with racial prejudice. The reader will be consumed by Conroy's determination, enthralled by the lives of the characters, and awakened to the social and educational plights of children and families in rural America.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 11, 2013

    Pat Conroy wrote this story about his year of teaching in a scho

    Pat Conroy wrote this story about his year of teaching in a school for poor black kids on an island off South Carolina in 1969. A young man on fire to teach not just the basics, but to give kids a broader view of the world, runs into a culture of ignorance and neglect, and not just with the blacks, but the whites as well. The administration is woefully neglectful, since they do not really care what happens to the poor black children in their so-called school. The only other teacher in the school is a black woman who believes children need beatings and shame to learn and practices both on what seems to be a daily basis. Why she thinks that is beyond me. Surely she can see that the kids she sends on to Conroy after her years of "teaching" have advanced only in hating her and learning to beat on each other. Some cannot read or write at all, and those who can are nowhere near their grade level. I applaud Conroy's efforts to raise awareness of the world beyond the island by taking them on trips and exposing them to other forms of enrichment, but the time might have been better spent in teaching the basics of reading and writing. Perhaps one or two moved beyond the limitations of their environment, but without the basic skills of reading, writing, and math to build on, it would be extremely difficult. Conroy might have made a huge difference in the lives of many of the children had he been able to stay on for several years, but in his anger and frustration at the less than worthless administration, he butted heads and lost the battle and if he made any dent at all in the lives of those children, it had to have been minimal.



    Eunice Boeve author of Echoes of Kansas Past

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    I rarely read

    I never was one to read that much because it is so hard for me to find books I actually like. This book captures it all! I say this is the perfect book to read if youre a picky reader!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    The Water is Wide is beautifully written. A distressing, yet inspiring memoir. In the book, Pat Conroy writes an honest, candid account of his year as a teacher at Yamacraw, based on Daufuskie Island, off the South Carolina coast. Pat's early teaching position prepared him for yet another milestone in his courageous writing. From day one, at Yamacraw's school, Conroy seeks to reconcile years of disregard for every child's right: the right to a proper education. Conroy shares his shock, hopes and dreams for the children who are neglected and uneducated, which is sad, yet inspirational. As with Conroy's, Prince of Tides, I was drawn immediately into the unique story. I was appalled at the lack of education on the island and even more so, at the men in control who bent to no man to assist Conroy in his efforts to alter the offensive school system. It would take more than Pat Conroy's unconventional teaching methods to deliver the tools required for the system to meet their children's needs. The children on Yamacraw were part of our future; the island's school system investment let them down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    This is one of those books I think about a lot afterwards. I rea

    This is one of those books I think about a lot afterwards. I read this book a year ago and still find myself reflecting on it. I am a teacher and was inspired by his dedication to this students and ability to make connections in the hardest circumstances. Wonderful book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2015

    Couldn't finish.

    I know it was important to the story and the era but I couldn't take the "n" word in every other sentence.

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  • Posted March 6, 2015

    I am sure this is a wonderful novel, as everything I have read w

    I am sure this is a wonderful novel, as everything I have read written by Pat Conroy has been excellent. But when I tried to read it,

    I got a window that asked for my name and credit card that I used to buy the book. I entered the information, but the book would not load. So now I am out 10 bucks for a book that I am not able to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2015

    A great read...highly recommend

    This book caught my attention quickly and kept it all the way through. My heart hurt for the students and teacher when they were faced with such prejudice and ignorance. I wish the ending could have been happier, but unfortunately all of life is not fun and flowers.

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  • Posted February 20, 2015

    Love Pat Conroy!

    I like this book better than Prince of Tides (which I loved).

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  • Posted February 20, 2015

    A good read!

    I enjoyed this book and I was not aware of the blight of isolated communities. I expect that is true in other places and islands.

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  • Posted February 13, 2015

    Rereading with the perspective of a 40 year career

    My first encounter with this book was back when it was first published. I was living in Ohio and was horrified that such a primitive situation could exist in modern society. Like Pat Conroy, I was full of youthful idealism and ambition; ready to demolish illiteracy and ignorance in any form. Clearly, we were soulmates.

    Having recently retired and moved to the Bluffton/Beaufort area, I decided to revisit this book and happily found Conroy's writing to be just as energizing as it was years ago.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2015

    Thomas to rue

    Actually over here rue. We need to talk for a new place because i am locked out of demonhunters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    Highly recommended ...you must read this book!

    I would read other books by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    I Loved This Book

    Unfortunately, I did not know of this book's existence until I saw the 1974 movie with John Voight. I knew I just had to read it, and in doing so, I feel that this is one of the most important books about education to read. The story of the children on Ymacraw Island is one of the most poignant I've read in avery long time.

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  • Posted July 15, 2012

    Worth a read.

    This was a good read but not one of his best. Beach Music is my favorite and he is my favorite author.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
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