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A “miraculous” (Newsweek) human drama, based on a true story, from the renowned author of The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini
 
The island is nearly deserted, haunting, beautiful. Across a slip of ocean lies South Carolina. But for the handful of families on Yamacraw Island, America is a world away. For years the people here lived proudly from the sea, but now its waters are not safe. Waste from industry threatens their very existence unless, somehow, they can learn a new way. But they will learn nothing without someone to teach them, and their school has no teacher—until one man gives a year of his life to the island and its people.
 
Praise for The Water Is Wide
 
“Miraculous . . . an experience of joy.” Newsweek
 
“A powerfully moving book . . . You will laugh, you will weep, you will be proud and you will rail . . . and you will learn to love the man.” Charleston News and Courier
 
“A hell of a good story.” The New York Times
 
“Few novelists write as well, and none as beautifully.” Lexington Herald-Leader
 
“[Pat] Conroy cuts through his experiences with a sharp edge of irony. . . . He brings emotion, writing talent and anger to his story.” —Baltimore Sun

Review

“Miraculous . . . an experience of joy.” Newsweek
 
“A powerfully moving book . . . You will laugh, you will weep, you will be proud and you will rail . . . and you will learn to love the man.” Charleston News and Courier
 
“A hell of a good story.” The New York Times
 
“Few novelists write as well, and none as beautifully.” Lexington Herald-Leader
 
“[Pat] Conroy cuts through his experiences with a sharp edge of irony. . . . He brings emotion, writing talent and anger to his story.” —Baltimore Sun

From the Inside Flap

The island is nearly deserted, haunting, beautiful. Across a slip of ocean lies South Carolina. But for the handful of families on Yamacraw island, America is a world away. For years the people here lived proudly from the sea, but now its waters are not safe. Waste from industry threatens their very existence?unless, somehow, they can learn a new life. But they will learn nothing without someone to teach them, and their school has no teacher.

Here is PAT CONROY?S extraordinary drama based on his own experience?the true story of a man who gave a year of his life to an island and the new life its people gave him.

From the Back Cover

The island is nearly deserted, haunting, beautiful. Across a slip of ocean lies South Carolina. But for the handful of families on Yamacraw island, America is a world away. For years the people here lived proudly from the sea, but now its waters are not safe. Waste from industry threatens their very existence-unless, somehow, they can learn a new life. But they will learn nothing without someone to teach them, and their school has no teacher.
Here is PAT CONROY''S extraordinary drama based on his own experience-the true story of a man who gave a year of his life to an island and the new life its people gave him.

About the Author

Pat Conroy (1945–2016) was the author of The Boo, The Water Is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life, My Losing Season, South of Broad, My Reading Life, and The Death of Santini.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

The southern school superintendent is a kind of remote deity who breathes the purer air of Mount Parnassus. The teachers see him only on those august occasions when they need to be reminded of the nobility of their calling. The powers of a superintendent are considerable. He hires and fires, manipulates the board of education, handles a staggering amount of money, and maintains the precarious existence of the status quo. Beaufort, South Carolina''s superintendent, Dr. Henry Piedmont, had been in Beaufort for only a year when I went to see him. He had a reputation of being tough, capable, and honest. A friend told me that Piedmont took crap from no man.

I walked into his office, introduced myself, chatted briefly, then told him I wanted to teach on Yamacraw Island. He gave me a hard stare and said, "Son, you are a godsend." I sat in the chair rigidly analyzing my new status. "I have prayed at night," he continued, "for an answer to the problems confronting Yamacraw Island. I have worried myself almost sick. And to think you would walk right into my office and offer to teach those poor colored children on that island. It just goes to show you that God works in mysterious ways."

"I don''t know if God had anything to do with it, Doctor. I applied for the Peace Corps and haven''t heard. Yamacraw seemed like a viable alternative."

"Son, you can do more good at Yamacraw than you could ever do in the Peace Corps. And you would be helping Americans, Pat. And I, for one, think it''s very important to help Americans."

"So do I, Doctor."

We chatted on about the problems of the island. Then he said, "You mentioned that God had nothing to do with your decision to go to Yamacraw, Pat. You remind me of myself when I was your age. Of course, I came up the hard way. My folks worked in a mill. Good people, both of them. Simple people, but God-fearing. My mother was a saint. A saint on earth. I worked in the mill, too. Even after I graduated from college, I went back to the mill in a supervisory capacity. But I wasn''t happy, Pat. Something was missing. One night I was working late at the mill. I stepped outside the mill and looked up at the stars. I went toward the edge of the forest and fell to my knees. I prayed to Jesus and asked him what he wanted me to do in my life. And do you know what?"

"No, sir, what?"

Then Dr. Piedmont leaned forward in his seat, his eyes transformed with spiritual intensity.

"He told me what to do that very night. He told me, ''Henry, leave the mill. Go into education and help boys to go to college. Help them to be something. Go back to school, Henry, and get an advanced degree.'' So I went to Columbia University, one of the great universities of the world. I emerged with a doctorate. I was the first boy from my town who was ever called Doctor."

I added wittily, "That''s nice, Doctor."

"You remind me of that boy I was, Pat. Do you know why you came to me today?"

"Yes, sir, I want to teach at Yamacraw."

"No, son. Do you know the real reason?"

"No, sir, I guess I don''t."

"Jesus," he said, as if he just found out the stone had been rolled back from the tomb. "You''re too young to realize it now, but Jesus made you come to me today."

I left his office soon afterward. He had been impressive. He was a powerful figure, very controlled, almost arrogantly confident in his abilities. He stared at me during our entire conversation. From experience I knew his breed. The mill-town kid who scratched his way to the top. Horatio Alger, who knew how to floor a man with a quick chop to the gonads. He was a product of the upcountry of South Carolina, the Bible Belt, sand-lot baseball, knife fights under the bleachers. His pride in his doctorate was almost religious. It was the badge that told the world that he was no longer a common man. Intellectually, he was a thoroughbred. Financially, he was secure. And Jesus was his backer. Jesus, with the grits-and-gravy voice, the shortstop on the mill team, liked ol'' Henry Piedmont.

Yamacraw is an island off the South Carolina mainland not far from Savannah, Georgia. The island is fringed with the green, undulating marshes of the southern coast; shrimp boats ply the waters around her and fishermen cast their lines along her bountiful shores. Deer cut through her forests in small silent herds. The great southern oaks stand broodingly on her banks. The island and the waters around her teem with life. There is something eternal and indestructible about the tide-eroded shores and the dark, threatening silences of the swamps in the heart of the island. Yamacraw is beautiful because man has not yet had time to destroy this beauty.

The twentieth century has basically ignored the presence of Yamacraw. The island is populated with black people who depend on the sea and their small farms for a living. Several white families live on the island in a paternalistic, but in many ways symbiotic, relationship with their neighbors. Only one white family actively participates in island life to any perceptible degree. The other three couples have come to the island to enjoy their retirement in the obscurity of the island''s remotest corners. Thus far, no bridge connects the island with the mainland, and anyone who sets foot on the island comes by water. The roads of the island are unpaved and rutted by the passage of ox carts, still a major form of transportation. The hand pump serves up questionable water to the black residents who live in their small familiar houses. Sears, Roebuck catalogues perform their classic function in the crudely built privies, which sit, half-hidden, in the tall grasses behind the shacks. Electricity came to the island several years ago.

There is something unquestionably moving about the line of utility poles coming across the marsh, moving perhaps because electricity is a bringer of miracles and the journey of the faceless utility poles is such a long one--and such a humane one. But there are no telephones (electricity is enough of a miracle for one century). To call the island you must go to the Beaufort Sheriff''s Office and talk to the man who works the radio. Otherwise, Yamacraw remains aloof and apart from the world beyond the river.

It is not a large island, nor an important one, but it represents an era and a segment of history that is rapidly dying in America. The people of the island have changed very little since the Emancipation Proclamation. Indeed, many of them have never heard of this proclamation. They love their island with genuine affection but have watched the young people move to the city, to the lands far away and far removed from Yamacraw. The island is dying, and the people know it.

In the parable of Yamacraw there was a time when the black people supported themselves well, worked hard, and lived up to the sacred tenets laid down in the Protestant ethic. Each morning the strong young men would take to their bateaux and search the shores and inlets for the large clusters of oysters, which the women and old men in the factory shucked into large jars. Yamacraw oysters were world famous. An island legend claims that a czar of Russia once ordered Yamacraw oysters for an imperial banquet. The white people propagate this rumor. The blacks, for the most part, would not know a czar from a fiddler crab, but the oysters were good, and the oyster factories operating on the island provided a substantial living for all the people. Everyone worked and everyone made money.

Then a villain appeared. It was an industrial factory situated on a knoll above the Savannah River many miles away from Yamacraw. The villain spewed its excrement into the river, infected the creeks, and as silently as the pull of the tides, the filth crept to the shores of Yamacraw. As every good health inspector knows, the unfortunate consumer who lets an infected oyster slide down his throat is flirting with hepatitis. Someone took samples of the water around Yamacraw, analyzed them under a microscope, and reported the results to the proper officials. Soon after this, little white signs were placed by the oyster banks forbidding anyone to gather the oysters. Ten thousand oysters were now as worthless as grains of sand. No czar would order Yamacraw oysters again. The muddy creatures that had provided the people of the island with a way to keep their families alive were placed under permanent quarantine.

Since a factory is soulless and faceless, it could not be moved to understand the destruction its coming had wrought. When the oysters became contaminated, the island''s only industry folded almost immediately. The great migration began. A steady flow of people faced with starvation moved toward the cities. They left in search of jobs. Few cities had any intemperate demand for professional oyster-shuckers, but the people were somehow assimilated. The population of the island diminished considerably. Houses surrendered their tenants to the city and signs of sudden departure were rife in the interiors of deserted homes. Over 300 people left the island. They left reluctantly, but left permanently and returned only on sporadic visits to pay homage to the relatives too old or too stubborn to leave. As the oysters died, so did the people.

My neck has lightened several shades since former times, or at least I like to think it has. My early years, darkened by the shadows and regional superstitions of a bona fide cracker boy, act as a sobering agent during the execrable periods of self-righteousness that I inflict on those around me. Sometimes it is good for me to reflect on the Neanderthal period of my youth, when I rode in the backseat of a ''57 Chevrolet along a night-blackened Carolina road hunting for blacks to hit with rotten watermelons tossed from the window of the speeding car, as they walked the shoulder of thin backroads. We called this intrepid form of entertainment "nigger-knocking," and it was great fun during the carnival of blind hatred I participated joyfully in during my first couple of years in high school.

Those were the years when the word nigger felt good to my tongue, for my mother raised her children to say colored and to bow our heads at the spoken name of Jesus. My mother taught that only white trash used the more explosive, more satisfying epithet to describe black people. Nigger possessed the mystery and lure of forbidden fruit and I overused it in the snickering clusters of white friends who helped my growing up.

The early years were nomadic ones. Dad''s pursuit of greatness in the Marine Corps carried us into some of the more notable swamplands of the East Coast. I attended Catholic schools with mystical names like the Infant of Prague and the Annunciation, as Dad transferred from Marine base to desolate Marine base, or when we retired to my mother''s family home in Atlanta when the nation called my father to war. Mom''s people hailed originally from the northeast mountains of Alabama, while Dad''s greased the railroad cars in Chicago, but attitudinally they could have used the same sheet at a Klan rally.

I loved the smooth-watered fifties, when I worried about the top-ten tunes and the homecoming queen, when I looked to Elvis for salvation, when the sharp dichotomy between black and white lay fallow and unchallenged, and when the World Series still was the most critical event of the year. The sixties brought this spindly-legged dream to its knees and the fall of the dream buried the joy of that blue-eyed youth forever.

Yet there were days that haunted the decade and presaged the tumultuous changes of the later sixties. By some miracle of chance, I was playing a high school basketball game in Greensboro, North Carolina, on the day that black students entered a dime store for the first nationally significant sit-in demonstration. I was walking past the store on the way to my hotel when I heard the drone of the angry white crowd. Word spread along the street that the niggers were up to something, and a crowd started milling around the store. With rolled-up sleeves and the Brylcreem look of the period, the mob soon became a ludicrous caricature of an entire society. The women had sharp, aquiline noses. I remember that. Everyone was surprised and enraged by the usurpation of this inalienable Caucasian right to park one''s ass on a leather stool and drink a Coke. I moved quickly out of the area, following a Conroy law of survival that says that restless mobs have a way of drawing trouble and cops--although the cops would not have bothered me on this day, I realized later. It would be nice to report that this event transformed me into a crusader for civil rights, but it did not. It did very little to me.

I moved to Beaufort, South Carolina, in the early sixties, a town fed by warm salt tides and cooled by mild winds from the sea; a somnolent town built on a high bluff where a river snaked fortuitously. I was tired of moving every year, of changing home and environment with every new set of orders, of uprooting simply because my father was a nomad traveling under a different name and occupation. So we came to Beaufort, a town I grew to love with passion and without apology for its serenity, for its splendidly languid pace, and for its profound and infinite beauty. It was a place of hushed, fragrant gardens, silent streets, and large antebellum houses. My father flew jets in its skies and I went to the local segregated high school, courted the daughter of the Baptist minister, and tried to master the fast break and the quick jump shot. I lived in the security of a town founded in the sixteenth century, but in the world beyond it walked John F. Kennedy, the inexorable movement of black people coming up the road in search of the promised American grail, the television performances of Bull Connor, the snarling dogs, the fire hoses, the smoking names of Montgomery, Columbus, Monroe, and Birmingham.

Having cast my lot with Beaufort, I migrated to college seventy miles up the road. I entered The Citadel, the military college of South Carolina, where for four years I marched to breakfast, saluted my superiors, was awakened by bugles; and continued my worship of the jock, the basketball, and the school fight song, "Dixie." For four years I did not think about the world outside the gates. Myopic and color blind, I could not be a flashy, ascotted pilot like my father, so I opted for teaching and Beaufort.

At graduation I headed back down Highway 17 to begin my life teaching in the same high school that had spewed me forth several years before. But there was a difference this time: the purity of the student body was forever tainted. Thanks to the dastardly progression of law, black students now peppered the snow-white Elysium that once had harbored me.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

David A. Brayshaw
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
From Backward to Forward
Reviewed in the United States on June 7, 2018
I grew up in a very small town in Missouri during part of my childhood. That little patch of land had one cotton gin, cotton fields that surrounded everything with dirt roads and ditches alongside them. Having moved from near Pittsburgh to be there, I was, in the... See more
I grew up in a very small town in Missouri during part of my childhood. That little patch of land had one cotton gin, cotton fields that surrounded everything with dirt roads and ditches alongside them. Having moved from near Pittsburgh to be there, I was, in the estimation of my teachers, advanced in my learning and skills. This was sixth grade, mind you, so I had about as much intelligence as most of the kids in my previous school.

Living there, I got a good picture of what it was like associating with children that weren''t as academically challenged as I had been. In fact, it was at first very complimentary to hear I was an excellent pupil, but after a time, I really wanted less attention, to fit in with my friends, who were mostly boys that thought the greatest achievement was the number of swats given by the gym coach they accumulated over the course of the semester.

What life was like outside of class was hard work in my grandfather''s scrap yard, hunting, and learning the skills needed to excel as a country boy: how to hone my knife, how to tell what kind of metal I was holding in my hand -- I always carried a magnet -- how to clean a shotgun and make fishing sinkers from molds into which we poured molten lead. So, why was there any need for anymore education than to learn to add, subtract and read reasonably well?

That''s how I view Yamacraw. Just what was it those children needed to survive in the environment they were accustomed? Not much. To advance, they had to have experiences and knowledge that created other thoughts, experiences and dreams. And that is exactly what Pat Conroy took to their island, the map to a new life full of more insight than they could have ever thought possible. Plus, he did it in the most extraordinary ways with field trips, slides and movies that were never before used, just stashed away in a seldom opened closet. Seeing those tools, Mr. Conrack knew just what to do. With whatever he had, he made use of it, and always, in his most amazing speeches turned experiences into learning. I envy that talent.

So, if you want to read a book that will both entertain and teach, as well as give you a few good laughs, read this book, then go on to read even more of this brilliant writer''s books, for he was, and still is, an American treasure.
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dpd
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A book that should be required reading for every person preparing to teach
Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2017
A year ago I finished a 40-year career teaching in a public school. I am embarrassed to say I didn''t read this book years ago. It came out early in my career, and it is a book that every person in teacher education should read. And its message is timeless; it says as much... See more
A year ago I finished a 40-year career teaching in a public school. I am embarrassed to say I didn''t read this book years ago. It came out early in my career, and it is a book that every person in teacher education should read. And its message is timeless; it says as much to educators today as I''m sure it did to educators in 1972 when it was first published. Only a teacher could have written The Water is Wide, and while Pat Conroy didn''t teach for very many years, he spoke with the voice of those of us who have devoted a lifetime to the profession. The heart and soul of teaching permeates this book, and its message speaks to each and every man and woman who has walked into a classroom filled with students, some prepared but many not, and pours 100% of his or her being into teaching those students. My only regret in having read The Water is Wide is that I didn''t read it before Mar. 4, 2016, the day Conroy died, because I wish I could write him a letter and tell him how much this book meant to me and how much it means to every teacher who reads it.
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Bryon Butler
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
You Had me at DC...
Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2019
I am uncertain about books where an outsider briefly jumps into a classroom setting to make a difference or to tell the tale. The actor Tony Danza relates his year in the trenches with I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had. Garrett Keizer, in his engaging... See more
I am uncertain about books where an outsider briefly jumps into a classroom setting to make a difference or to tell the tale. The actor Tony Danza relates his year in the trenches with I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had. Garrett Keizer, in his engaging one-year return to the classroom, Getting Schooled, the Re-education of an American Teacher, does likewise. Disjointedly, Nicolson Baker’s Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids tells of his only 28 days as a substitute teacher. Even Erin Gruwell of Freedom Writers fame only spent four years in the classroom before moving on to other ventures. Education advocate Michelle Rhee spent three years in the classroom (but did not write specifically about those years). The writer Frank McCourt, in Teacher Man, his stories of 35 years as a teacher, wrote that the irony of public education is that money and influence are more attainable the further the educator gets from the classroom.
I picked up The Water is Wide as I’ve wanted to read Pat Conroy and a friend and former teacher, a Conroy enthusiast, said that this book was his favorite. I was leery. Why write the book if he was just there a year? How much was about him, and how much about the experience and the heartfelt desire to make a difference. It’s not a long book, but as I read it I became enlivened by Conroy’s attempts to educate these island bound kids from South Carolina, even taking them to Washington DC. He battles the principal and the organizational leadership, overt racism even island mores to try and open a big world to a myopic culture failed by its educational laissez faire attitude. Conroy’s dedication, his goal to open the students’ eyes to the world in and outside of the classroom sold me that he wrote about a time that was more than material for a popular book.
At times I wasn’t sure if Conroy was writing an accurate memoir or crossed over into fiction. Yet, as a whole, The Water is Wide was a satisfying read.
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Thursday night book club reader
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
As a former teacher in a very poor county in North Carolina just a few years after ...
Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2016
As a former teacher in a very poor county in North Carolina just a few years after Conroy''s experience, I related to this book in the first few pages. I am a lover of "all things Pat Conroy", and this one did not disappoint. His writing is beautifully poignant,... See more
As a former teacher in a very poor county in North Carolina just a few years after Conroy''s experience, I related to this book in the first few pages. I am a lover of "all things Pat Conroy", and this one did not disappoint. His writing is beautifully poignant, sometimes invoking laughter, sometimes tears, but always sincere and believable. The challenges he faced defy reason in more ways than one, but his undaunted spirit prevailed. If you are a teacher, and think you''ve had a bad day/year, put this on your reading list. How would you have faced this challenge? I''d hope with the same tenacity in the face of circumstances as well as the school administration. The love he had for his challenged students shines through and your admiration for him will jump up several notches by the time you finish this touching story.
62 people found this helpful
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Alecia D
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Southern Novel on par with To Kill a Mockingbird
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2020
Read this book many years ago after moving from the "north" to SC. This is the story of the author, Pat Conroy, as a school teacher on the remote island of Daufuskie. SC. I bought the book (and the audio version) for a recent trip to Hilton Head, SC with my "tween"... See more
Read this book many years ago after moving from the "north" to SC. This is the story of the author, Pat Conroy, as a school teacher on the remote island of Daufuskie. SC. I bought the book (and the audio version) for a recent trip to Hilton Head, SC with my "tween" granddaughters. My daughter-in-law snagged the print version and we listened to the audio as we travelled. On a boat tour, we passed Daufuskie Island (name changed in the book). The girls became really interested when they realized that this was written about the area in which we were traveling. For me, it brought home the sobering realization that "we" have not come very far in our race relations in this country. On the literary side, Pat Conroy had a way with words. Reading this book, you will smell the plough mud and the salt spray and feel the hordes of mosquitoes. I''ve read other books by Conroy. He had a very dysfunctional family, but the way he described their life made me want to be one of them. I fell in love with this part of the country by reading Pat Conroy and have not done justice to his works with this review. Read it - at the least, it will be an interesting story; at the most - it may touch your heart.
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Doris
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
One of Pat Conroy''s Best
Reviewed in the United States on November 23, 2014
The Water is Wide deserves five stars or more! I just loved the way Pat Conroy changed his ways when it came to his feelings about black people and especially the children of the island. He was raised during the times when racial prejudice was the norm among his childhood... See more
The Water is Wide deserves five stars or more! I just loved the way Pat Conroy changed his ways when it came to his feelings about black people and especially the children of the island. He was raised during the times when racial prejudice was the norm among his childhood friends and families in the South. His attitude with the children in the island school was wonderful as opposed to the other teacher in the school. Her idea that the strap was the only way to control the children who she deemed "retarded" was just awful to say the least. Conroy''s reaction to some of her ways was actually comical.

I felt that Conroy''s refusal to use books which the youngsters couldn''t read anyway was creative in the end. His use of trips and experiences to teach the students was totally against the other teacher''s ideas of instruction and, since she was the "principal" of the school, she tried everything to stop him from his unique teaching methods.

It was appalling to see how the Board of Education failed him, showing how little they cared about these poor children who in many cases couldn''t even recite the alphabet or count to any reasonable degree. No one at the Board, nor the other teacher at the school, cared about the fact that this generation of youngsters would probably never leave the island and would remain in poverty as adults or might leave to go to some city where they would also end up living in abject poverty. All the Board seemed to want was a warm body in the classroom, someone who wouldn''t make waves. They didn''t count on Conroy doing just that.

Pat Conroy found methods that made education interesting to the students, but sadly he was only allowed to teach for a year before he was told they no longer needed or wanted him on the island. Though he fought to stay, he lost out.

This true story has some sadness and a great deal of humor along with it. It is a great read.
45 people found this helpful
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SRappenecker
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An unvarnished year
Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2018
Conroy describes his year of teaching on Yamacraw Island, South Carolina, in the 1960’s, where the children are woefully behind in their schooling. The book appears refreshingly honest; Conroy’s struggle to fight insidious classroom boredom, to teach the kids what he thinks... See more
Conroy describes his year of teaching on Yamacraw Island, South Carolina, in the 1960’s, where the children are woefully behind in their schooling. The book appears refreshingly honest; Conroy’s struggle to fight insidious classroom boredom, to teach the kids what he thinks they need to know to survive the world beyond the island, and his struggles with the public school administration are described with equal parts passion, humor, anger and frustration. I enjoyed the dialog with the children, and winced at the quotes from the school principal. I wished for an Epilogue, which might revisit the children and their island 20 years later, but maybe I’m wishing too hard for the school system to have learned, grown or changed.
10 people found this helpful
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AB
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Entertaining style
Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2018
I have been a teacher for 18 years in a school district whose population is mostly students growing up in poverty. Naturally, I was drawn to this book when I read the description. My work is exhausting and truly draining...and after all these years, I sometimes find... See more
I have been a teacher for 18 years in a school district whose population is mostly students growing up in poverty. Naturally, I was drawn to this book when I read the description.
My work is exhausting and truly draining...and after all these years, I sometimes find myself going through the motions to get through the day. I was hoping to get some motivation, some new spark from Pat Conroy. I don''t know that I can say that happened. Being that he was only able to work with these children for one year, I found his wisdom in this realm limited. I did find myself reminiscing to my own early years in the profession, and the fire I felt back then.
On the otherhand, I very much enjoyed Conroy''s voice and style of storytelling. I enjoyed his sense of humor and dry wit. Moreover, I appreciated his willingness to give an honest, open voice to a topic that is so often carefully avoided by white Americans.
I look forward to reading more of Conroy''s work in the future.
9 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Colin
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 1, 2018
well satisfied
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Kerry S.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Successful present !
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 18, 2016
I bought this book for a fan of Pat Conroy and he loved it.
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Joachine G. Davidson Milo
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The water is wide, great title!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 6, 2010
After having read the Beach Song, I have to read all Conroy''s books and started with this one. Excellent book, well written. I laughed aloud, cried and got angry.Must get on with all the others now.
One person found this helpful
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Dorothy Waite
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wordery
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 29, 2016
I would recommend using Wordery, the book was in excellent condition.
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Buxton Caver
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 14, 2016
Splendid book but also a sad book in some respects.
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