The Water is Wide

The Water is Wide 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 live

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 learnThe 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.

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The Water is Wide

  1. Pat Conroy 1945 2016 was the New York Times bestselling author of two memoirs and seven novels, including The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and The Lords of Discipline Born the eldest of seven children in a rigidly disciplined military household, he attended the Citadel, the military college of South Carolina He briefly became a schoolteacher which he chronicled in his memoir The Water Is Wide before publishing his first novel, The Boo Conroy lived on Fripp Island, South Carolina until his death in 2016.

356 Reply to “The Water is Wide”

  1. This is probably of a reflection than a review I read this book when I first started teaching, and my naive and much younger self wanted to be exactly the kind of teacher Pat Conroy had wanted to be one who worked with children who needed me and whose lives I could touch in some way only I would do it better of course My first teaching job plunked me down in a non air conditioned overcrowded school in Little Havana in the heart of the city of Miami, FL for you non natives with 100% of my studen [...]

  2. This is an enlightening book and also obviously the book of a young man as it is at times both overwhelmingly idealistic and alarmingly naive Pat Conroy agreed to teach for a year on Yamacraw Island off the coast of South Carolina There he encounters a world apart, conditions unlike anything he has encountered in his teaching on the mainland He is to teach the children of the island, the people who used to live from fishing but now can t support themselves from polluted waters He encounters chil [...]

  3. I want everybody to read, no listen to, The Water is Wide It is that good a book There are sublime sentences, most often straight out of the mouths of the eighteen black kids whom he s teaching, 1969 970, on Yamacraw Island Daufuski Island , South Carolina Until he got kicked out for insubordination after one year as a teacher That is told at the very beginning so it is no spoiler He is a fantastic teacher He is the kind of teacher these kids needed In the prologue the author says how he felt th [...]

  4. In 1969, Pat Conroy, a young idealistic teacher, accepted a position at a two room school house on an impoverished and isolated island off the coast of South Carolina He is assigned the class of 5th 8th graders The largely segregated school district of which this island was a part, had presumed that these Black children were inherently incapable of learning and treated them accordingly He found a group of 18 students who could not recite the alphabet, let alone read, could not count to 10, let a [...]

  5. I was really impressed with this book Not only did I enjoy the story, which is true, but I also enjoyed the writing of Pat Conroy This is the first book I have read by Conroy This is about the experience Conroy had in the early 70 s teaching in a one room school house on Yamacraw Island which is the pseudonym for Daufuskie Island , an island off the coast of South Carolina This island was populated by mostly African Americans The experience was truly eye opening It really depicted the society of [...]

  6. I realize this book has an underlying focus on racism in the South in the late 60s, but the other plot line I what resonated with me a gifted teacher unfairly losing his job I lost mine 10 years ago, gosh as long ago now as I taught It was quite difficult for me to read how inspired Conroy was in the classroom, how much he cared about his students and their minds and futures only to be told he s insubordinate and no longer wanted To fire me so insensitively is one thing, but they try to destroy [...]

  7. This was the first Pat Conroy book I read, and several years later, I had an opportunity to spend some time on Yamacraw, the island where he taught school It was a magical place, with sandy roads shaded by great oak trees dripping with spanish moss The people lived in backwards conditions, but they were tied to the land and their relationship with the land and the ocean in a way that few if any of the rest of us will ever experience This is an inspiring, uplifting book and I am a better person f [...]

  8. Pat Conroy s memoir of his year teaching 1969 70 It s kids of Gullah dialect S.C island living who don t have cultural context to the English and other subjects, like American History and reading skills that he is trying to teach them He tries to use active trips, other activities which give experience and relate to their family and island life instead of the usual physical consequence and heavily redundant reciting lessons of former and approved school structure So he argues with the boss Origi [...]

  9. This was another outstanding book by Pat Conroy,he is a amazing storyteller This book really makes you think about how society and how racism plays a big part in it The characters were believable and you often felt sympathy for some of the characters What separates Pat from most authors is the fact that lives what he writes, he is not just telling the story but he actually lived through it.

  10. I had gotten a copy of this book a while back for a few reasons 1 It takes place in SC2 Pat Conroy is a SC writer3 I like some of his stuff, despite his lunatic family4 I had fond memories of the movie5 One of my favorite folk songs is The Water is Wide.6 A friend of mine is mentioned in the afterword.I saw the movie made from this book when I was a teenager, a few years before my family moved to South CArolina It made a big impression on me, so it was with some trepidation that I actually picke [...]

  11. When Pat Conroy was a new teacher, he set out for a small island off the coast of South Carolina in 1969 70 to teach poor kids at a black school there What a culture shock Not only did these kids mostly not know how to read or write, but they had never experienced Halloween Pat did a lot for these kids over the year, and taught them in unorthodox ways I thought this was a memoir, but it was only at the very end of the book that it said it was based on his year on the island I think it also said [...]

  12. I knew that this was a memoir but I didn t realize it was a memoir about one specific year in the author s life 1969 He offers to take a teaching position on Yamacraw Island only to realize that these children have been overlooked and basically treated like crap because they re black and poor Conroy s idealism and belief that right and wrong are the only thing that matters leads to him becoming a passionate advocate of the island children, and earns him the enmity of people who just want to cont [...]

  13. Conroy, a successful novelist, spent a year teaching on an isolated island off the coast of South Carolina The year was the 1969 70 school year and the island populated by highly disadvantaged sea islanders, mostly African American with a handful of custodial whites who run the island and its limited services Conroy, in his young twenties, a relatively recent graduate from The Citadel, had taught high school on the mainland for a couple of years He is shocked by the impact of the historical mali [...]

  14. What can I say I LOVE Pat Conroy s writing In My Losing Season the way he describes a basketball game is pure poetry While I was hanging about the local bookseller as opposed to a book store waiting for Conroy to write another book, I realized I had never read The Water is Wide I don t know how I missed a Conroy book I bought a copy and devoured it as soon as I got home After having read all his other books and knowing his family history, it was an interesting read He wrote this book before he d [...]

  15. Pat Conroy is a wizard with words This is a true account of his sojourn as a young teacher in a two room schoolhouse on an impoverished island off the lower South Carolina coast He made each of these students come to life and I was so involved both in the account of what went on in the classroom as well as what was happening behind the scenes in administration that had kept the inadequacies and inequalities in place.I guess I so connected with this story because I went to public schools in the r [...]

  16. Moving and enlightening account of a year Conroy spent in the 60 s teaching disadvantaged black elementary school students in a two room schoolhouse on a small coastal island off of Beaufort, SC He is appalled at the poor level of education and limited aspirations of his students due to the isolation of the fishing community and cycle of poverty It was exciting to experience the creative approaches Conroy uses to get through to the kids and efforts to get their parents and school administration [...]

  17. I m having a little literary love affair with Pat Conroy It started with Prince of Tides and continues with Lords of Discipine and The Great Santini His is a powerful voice, and I m glad I m not involved in any organization or situation that he is interested in He is a gadfly, afflicting the comfortable I can see why his strong opinions and vocal criticism would get people s backs up in opposition He comes on so strong that those who don t share his opinions cannot take the necessary step back t [...]

  18. I love Pat Conroy s way with words He has such a keen sense of description He doesn t use a lot of words, yet manages to be very precise in his details This detail makes his characters vivid and memorable There are crappy teachers who care for their job than the students, and then there are the ones who roll up their sleeves and reach with both hands in order to make a difference Teachers need to be teachable Some of the problems with public schools that were addressed in this book, are still p [...]

  19. This is not his magnus opus that would be my just finished Prince of Tides, but I enjoyed this just as much A young, passionate Conroy has been fired after one year of teaching, then spends time reflecting and writing about his experience While raging against the racial injustices, he s candid about his own shortcomings and surprisingly forgiving toward his adversaries Mostly it s his love and support of his students which shine the brightest A great book to end the year, but I think I ll keep d [...]

  20. It would be hard to explain what Pat Conroy is like if one has never read any of his books But imagine the beautiful flow of a river the perpetual dance of its waters and the calming music they create upon their every stroke with every earthly matter Imagine the soothing feeling you can luxuriate in when you let your feet touch its cool waters That is what Pat Conroy and his words are for me beautiful lming othing rpetual

  21. With Mr Conroy s recent passing, it occurred to me that I had not read any of his books This one, his first, is a memoir of teaching in the south in the 60s Much like Gloria Steinem s book from the 80s, his story reminded me that we really have a far way to go.

  22. I have not really been a fan of Pat Conroy s writing I really wanted to like him because he s from the South, and many people love his Southern literature I liked a few of his earlier works that I read when I was much younger, but I found the stories in his later works of fiction to be just ridiculous, contrived, and far fetched I particularly despised Beach Music and South of Broad I kept hearing from Conroy fans that I should read The Water is Wide and The Great Santini These were the 2nd and [...]

  23. During his writing career, the late Pat Conroy proved himself to be one of, if not the, best Southern writer of recent history His many novels like The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, South of Broad, and others highlighted his mastery of metaphor To read a Pat Conroy novel is to indulge in word paintings that are so beautiful, so vivid, that we can see, smell, hear, and savor the Southern mostly South Carolinian landscape Delight in his stories, revel in complex characters, but read hi [...]

  24. This was a selection for my book club and I am glad because I do not usually care for Conroy I found this book instructive of the times and was taken back to 1969 when I was about the same age as Conroy The one thing I could not have experienced as he did was the situation on the island with the children He certainly brings that and his encounter with them clearly to the reader There are light, funny moments but, for me, mostly I wondered how such a situation ever came to be.

  25. I learned things about Pat Conroy s life that I was unaware of I sure admire his youthful passion and indignation at the inequities in educational opportunities in this small, segregated southern community in the 1960 s As someone who has vacationed numerous times on the South Carolina coast, this sharp look at recent history is very compelling And, disturbing How could this have happened in the 60 s I loved his almost lyrical style of writing The descriptions of the students giving a summary of [...]

  26. I love books about teachers I have a special bookshelf dedicated to these books and this one did not disappoint Pat Conroy was just launching into his adult life and career in 1969, at the height of the civil rights era He had a social conversion of sorts that changed the course of his life and career He played We Shall Overcome by Pete Seegar I remember that moment with crystal clarity and I comprehend it as a turning point in my life a moment terrible in its illumination of a toad in my soul, [...]

  27. 4.5 stars Pat Conroy tells his adventurous story of being a young white teacher of limited experience in 1969, teaching impoverished and minimally educated black children on the island of Yamacraw, South Carolina Integration of schools was new, especially in the South, and especially for some of the crusty old types in the school district hierarchy Integration was not an issue on Yamacraw all the children inhabiting the island were black The children do not know basic math, and most do not read [...]

  28. I didn t much care for this book when I read it, not because the unorthodox spirit of teaching was so rampant, but because I didn t think it provided functional answers to the education problem On the other hand, the creative and unorthodox manner of teaching, that s hard to dislike and I wish we had teachers who thought this way and could teach in a unstructured way I read this book thoroughly angry with the school superintendent and the whole town for that matter I demanded that they become [...]

  29. Because I am overly descriptive, I would have subtitled this book The arrogance of idealism because it so well documents the reality that comes with facing an entrenched culture and assuming that it can be changed simply because one s ideas are superior.From a practical perspective I have known many teachers that have faced the ridiculously long odds of administrative agendas that have no bearing on educating children and persevered because they matured enough to persist in what they were doing [...]

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