My Losing Season by Pat Conroy

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“I was born to be a point guard, but not a very good one. . . .There was a time in my life when I walked through the world known to myself and others as an athlete. It was part of my own definition of who I was and certainly the part I most respected. When I was a young man, I was well-built and agile and ready for the rough and tumble of games, and athletics provided the single outlet for a repressed and preternaturally shy boy to express himself in public....I lost myself in the beauty of sport and made my family proud while passing through the silent eye of the storm that was my childhood.”

So begins Pat Conroy’s journey back to 1967 and his startling realization “that this season had been seminal and easily the most consequential of my life.” The place is the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, that now famous military college, and in memory Conroy gathers around him his team to relive their few triumphs and humiliating defeats. In a narrative that moves seamlessly between the action of the season and flashbacks into his childhood, we see the author’s love of basketball and how crucial the role of athlete is to all these young men who are struggling to find their own identity and their place in the world.

In fast-paced exhilarating games, readers will laugh in delight and cry in disappointment. But as the story continues, we gradually see the self-professed “mediocre” athlete merge into the point guard whose spirit drives the team. He rallies them to play their best while closing off the shouts of “Don’ t shoot, Conroy” that come from the coach on the sidelines. For Coach Mel Thompson is to Conroy the undermining presence that his father had been throughout his childhood. And in these pages finally, heartbreakingly, we learn the truth about the Great Santini.

In My Losing Season Pat Conroy has written an American classic about young men and the bonds they form, about losing and the lessons it imparts, about finding one’s voice and one’s self in the midst of defeat. And in his trademark language, we see the young Conroy walk from his life as an athlete to the writer the world knows him to be.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Pat Conroy's The Death of Santini.

About Pat Conroy

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PAT CONROY is the bestselling author of nine previous books: The Boo, The Water Is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, My Losing Season, The Pat Conroy Cookbook, and South of Broad. Several of his books have been made into successful films. He lives in Fripp Island, South Carolina.
Published August 26, 2003 by Bantam. 416 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors, Literature & Fiction, War, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Losing Season

Kirkus Reviews

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Don Conroy appears here as the quintessential crude abuser who slugs and slaps his son in the face, demeans his talents, calls him a “pussy,” but somehow experiences an epiphany after reading Santini and becomes a Nice Guy (“the great miracle of my adult life,” avows his son) whose bruised childr...

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Publishers Weekly

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Here, in a re-creation of the losing basketball season Conroy and his team endured during his senior year at the Citadel, 1966– 1967, Conroy gives readers an intimate look at how suffering can be transformed to become a source of strength and inspiration.

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Book Reporter

His very first memory is from age 2, "my mother tried to stab him (Conroy's father, Colonel Donald Conroy) with a butcher knife and he backhanded her to the floor, laughing, a scene I observed from my high chair."

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of My Losing Season

AV Club

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Season leaves its central thesis early on, as Conroy wanders chronologically between his high-school traumas and his recent life, and he wanders topically, returning to the themes and sometimes the specific stories of both The Lords Of Discipline and The Great Santini, his horrifying roman à clef...

Dec 18 2002 | Read Full Review of My Losing Season

Entertainment Weekly

''I had never once considered the sadness of point guards,'' Conroy solemnly swears at the outset of a good and gooey memoir recapping his senior year as sad point guard for the Citadel basketball team in 1966, ''the year I woke up to the dream of my own life.'' That clanking there is The Pr...

Nov 15 2002 | Read Full Review of My Losing Season

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