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My Losing Season: A Memoir Paperback – August 26, 2003
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Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I picked up "My Losing Season" not as a great fan of Pat Conroy or as a former athlete. I was attracted more by the theme of loss and its lessons. And I expected a different personal story than the one Conroy tells. The losing basketball season in his last year as a cadet at The Citadel in Charleston, SC, is a pretext for a much deeper theme - survival in the face of humiliation.
And it's not the losses of the games that are humiliating. On the one hand is the brutal and unrelenting contempt of his marine colonel father, a child abuser and wife beater. On the other hand is the withering scorn of Conroy's arbitrary and capricious coach, Mel Thompson. Both, in Conroy's account, do their best to beat the spirit out of the boy who has grown into an indomitable (though undersized and modestly talented) point guard for his team. And all of this takes place in the regimented, fierce, all-male environment of The Citadel in the 1960s, where incoming boys are routinely broken by the merciless hazing of their upperclassmen.
Humiliation is a much more difficult subject than loss to deal with. Loss leaves scars, but humiliation remains an open wound, and in writing about it there is the risk of slipping into the tug of war between self-pity and self-blame. Conroy takes us there sometimes, and those are the parts of his story that are lacerating. But win or lose, the ups and downs of the season are fascinating and the accounts of the games are thrilling. As a writer, he has a gift for hustling the reader with suspense and drama and sudden shifts of mood.Read more ›
This book holds a demonstration of how to grow more honest with oneself and sincere with others. This is a story of fear, sadism, injury, failure and loss and how these can lead to courage and achievement or degradation and estrangement.
In a way that smells like truth, Conroy tells his story, reconstructing memories over 30 years old. His understanding matures as he reconnects with the shattered team of his youth and the boy that failed them. He doesn't blame, he reveals - everything. When Conroy writes about himself, he is telling the truth about all of us. When reading this poetic work, one cannot avoid feeling connected to deeper truths of the human condition. There is no better way to spend one's reading time.
I haven't read all of Mr. Conroy's books yet, not because I don't think he is one of the great writers of all time, but because I know that I'll only get to read them once for the first time. My introduction into his worlds of fiction caught me by surprise because I was well into 'The Prince of Tides' before I realized that the book wasn't a true story. I now realize after reading 'My Losing Season' that everything he writes is true, even the fiction.
I would have broken down crying several times during the reading of this book, but my heart is still guarded by never sleeping sentinels whose tireless detail is to walk the stone walls that guard my interior. Mr. Conroy manages to gain an entrance, however, and at times during reading his work I feel a sense of hatred towards him. Not meanness, just anger with no where to go.
So what is it about this book, this story that makes it so worth reading? The nakedness that Pat Conroy brings to the page. The truth. Simple and raw and courageous. Enduring and joyful, sad and painful.
I envy his memories, his legacy, his past, not because I feel that the journey was easy or he was lucky, but because whatever molded him into the man he became, whatever blessing or curse that was bestowed him at birth, whatever angels or demons followed his path, he has been able to live outside of the shells and caves and fortresses that most of us dwell in.Read more ›
It is also the only memoir that deals directly with the true story --- step by step, game by game --- of an NCAA Division I basketball team that won a mere eight games (out of 25). This is counterintuitive for a sports book. You see, we are supposed to remember those athletes and teams that never lose, the Knute Rocknes, not the Bill Buckners. Yet both examples offer powerful stories.
This was the only type of sports book Pat Conroy could write.
In a moment of kismet while on the book tour for BEACH MUSIC, Conroy reconnected with his former teammate John DeBrosse. They found themselves replaying the minutiae of a loss on a basketball court 30 years ago. Both men were marked by that losing season. This encounter served as catalyst to search for meaning from this lost season. Conroy devoted two years to pouring through old newspaper clips, interviewing former teammates and diving into his own memories to reignite the fires of regret and disappointment.
He recalls that the best memories his teammates had from the 1966-67 Citadel Bulldogs Varsity Basketball team were of the great players they went up against. They remember the Michael Jordans --- or in this case the Johnny Moates. Conroy writes, "In every home I entered as I reconstituted my team, I found instead of memory scar tissue and nerve damage. There is no downside to winning. It feels forever fabulous. But there is no teacher more discriminating or transforming than loss."
This memoir peeks audaciously into the minds of players on a losing team: what made them tick, what they thought and who made them what they became. So the daring part is --- who cares about a bunch of losers?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A SUPERB WRITER SETS OUT TO EXPLAIN HOW THE MALE FIGURES IN HIS LIFE SHAPED HIM AS A YOUNG MAN. THERE ARE LYRICAL DESCRIPTIONS OF BASKETBALL GAMES, HEARTBREAK, TRIUMPH, MALES... Read morePublished 9 days ago by joan THE READER
I've never read so much blatant honesty, hurtful truth, and such total redemption. I was not able to put this surprising book down. I wish Pat Conroy was still alive to write more.Published 15 days ago by Crucialdog
Very interesting book with revelations of where characters from his other books were born.Published 1 month ago by Noel Hertz
One would have to be a dyed-in-the-wool basketball aficionado to enjoy this book. I read the first three chapters and gave up. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Donald Arries
Really did not know what to expect but this was another quick read by a great author. Really interesting how he switches between a story about his senior basketball team and a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Eric A.
Read it twice. If you love basketball, if you played, you will love this book by Pat Conroy, who just died.Published 3 months ago by michael conniff