Synopses & Reviews
Step into the powerhouse life of Bull Meecham. He's all Marine --- fighter pilot, king of the clouds, and absolute ruler of his family. Lillian is his wife -- beautiful, southern-bred, with a core of velvet steel. Without her cool head, her kids would be in real trouble. Ben is the oldest, a born athlete whose best never satisfies the big man. Ben's got to stand up, even fight back, against a father who doesn't give in -- not to his men, not to his wife, and certainly not to his son. Bull Meecham is undoubtedly Pat Conroy's most explosive character -- a man you should hate, but a man you will love.
"The strength of this first novel (Conroy's earlier best-seller, The Water is Wide, is non-fiction) is its realism. The dialogue, anecdotes, and family atmosphere are pure Marine and probably autobiographical. At the heart of the book is the search of the 18-year-old son to find himself while learning to understand and love his rigidly authoritarian Marine father, the 'great Santini.' A good novel and enjoyable reading, though the descriptive writing is somewhat juvenile. As usual, when one reads a first novel so heavily autobiographical, one wonders if the author has exhausted his experiences and if a second novel will be inferior." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)