The Water Is Wide

The Water Is Wide

by Pat Conroy
4.0 82

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The Water Is Wide (Enhanced Edition) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
Lynda69 More than 1 year ago
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.
Texastootsie More than 1 year ago
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.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
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
catwak More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Kotch More than 1 year ago
For all teachers!
Carol_Devaney More than 1 year ago
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.
EunieKS More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Anonymous 10 months ago
I have read this book many times. It is a favorite of mine as I grew up in South Carolina and love the familiarity of the story. I'm also a teacher and can really feel the frustration that Conroy expresses in the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When Conroy first accepts the job, he is full of youthful optimism that he can help the poor Black children of the island. He soon comes up against an old school and very racist adminisrator and a teacher who subscribes to the ideal of submission and who uses intimidation, fear, and ouright insults to keep the students "in their proper place" or in other words subordinate to the White man. In spite of these obstacles, Conroy tries to give these kids meaningful experiences. Many of the students are illiterate and have had no exposure to modern teaching tools, in fact most of their daily lessons are tought through drills and repetition. He also tries to give the students much needed exposure to things they have never seen or experienced. He plays them classical music, gives them them their first ever Halloween, and teaces them how to swim, since many of the island's children die from drowning. Sadly, his actions, however noble, go against a general attitude in the South, that all people are not created equal, which ultimately costs him his position. Anyone who expects a happy ending will be disappointed: At the end of the story, Conroy himself doubts that he has affected the course of these kids lives in any significant way, and I'd venture to say he was right. In spite of the sad reality, this story serves as a reminder that as human beings, we have a responsability to make sure that all children regardless of race, creed, color, country of birth, sex, sexual orientation, or disability have meaningful opprotunties to live, learn, succeed, grow, and thrive. To forget those less fortunate is to go back to the Old South ways of racisim, segregation, and hate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was ok
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my place
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before I got my NOOK l really hadn't done much reading.Boy has that sure changed.I would see his(at first l thought he was female)name popping up everywhere.It wasn't until l was reading a book that his wife wrote(can't think of her name)that I realized his gender was male.All l ever read about him was super good.Things are about to change,I'm going to go and purchase this book but before I do l would like hear from avid readers of his to see if they think this would be the best for my buck.Anything but Prince of Tides.Seen the movie and thought it sucked.Barbara Striesand does nothing for me as an actress,singer yes.Thanks people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a well written expose of our flawed school system. It highlights an established bureaucracy that belies the mission of preparing children with the needed skills to take their place in society.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know it was important to the story and the era but I couldn't take the "n" word in every other sentence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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arcdude More than 1 year ago
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.