The Prince of Tides is a tale of a family. The Wingo family from South Carolina. Heartache and almost every kind of abuse imaginable, happened to this family over their years on Melrose Island in Colleton County. It’s a tragic and unbelievable story that we go through following these characters.
Tom Wingo is told by his mother, that his twin sister, Savannah, has yet again, tried to commit suicide. The doctor would like a family member to come visit her in New York to see how they can try to help her and understand her better. Tom goes up north to the city that you have to be a special kind of person to love. (Tom isn’t one of those people.)
To help his sister, Tom meets Doctor Lowenstein, who is Savannah’s psychiatrist. Lowenstein wants to get down to the bottom of what is causing all these breakdowns in Tom’s sister. At first Tom is hesitant, in the South, he is taught to be loyal to his family and not expose to much as it will harm the family’s reputation. Eventually, Tom realizes he has to do something to help his sister and it might even help himself. Therefore, Tom tells the tale of the Wingo family. Tom starts by telling his parents’ backstories and then bringing it all to the modern day. All the twists and turns of how they became who they are and how they got into the situations that they are in now. It’s a great tale filled with sorrowful memories.
What Pat Conroy does best is writing characters. The two books, I have read by him, are very character driven. His characters are just so real, they all have their flaws and absolutely done of them are perfect. The reader can find something to relate to themselves in all of the characters. They will also feel very much an emotional bond with these characters.
Another thing that Pat Conroy is great at is making the setting of the book a character in itself. The low country setting is just beautiful and you can almost smell the salt in the air by how descriptive and lyrical the writing is.
The writing. The writing is beautiful, as stated earlier it is lyrical and descriptive. It has a nice flow to it and the reader will never have a hard time picturing the scene that is taking place. There is a catch though, with the book being so descriptive, it does seem to go on forever. I’m sorry, I do not care who you are, an almost fifty page chapter is never a good idea. I will just lose interest.
Once again, The Prince of Tides is a character driven story. There is a plot but it is not the main point. I do like the plot of Tom having to tell the doctor, the life story of the Wingo family for us to get that character development. I did predict some points, I won’t say them here as I do not spoil novels in my reviews. Some things were completely random and so out there, though. Trust me, the reader is in for a wild ride in this book.
I did struggle with the intrigue. I dreaded picking up the book at times knowing that it would be dense with the long chapters. I was even following along with the audiobook, so you would think that it would go by faster but it didn’t.
Overall, this was a good book. It did take me over a week to get through but I think it was worth it. The Prince of Tides will stick with me because of all the endurances that these characters had to go through. This was a beautiful book and it paints a picture in your head of life and the beauty of it even though we go through all sorts of times, dark and pleasant. I do recommend picking this one up.
However, do look around for trigger warnings that this book does have. There are quite a few of them.
3.5 out of 5 stars.