Synopses & Reviews
A miraculous (Newsweek) human drama, based on a true story, from the renowned author of The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini
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 way. But they will learn nothing without someone to teach them, and their school has no teacher until one man gives a year of his life to the island and its people.
Praise for The Water Is Wide
Miraculous . . . an experience of joy. Newsweek
A powerfully moving book . . . You will laugh, you will weep, you will be proud and you will rail . . . and you will learn to love the man. Charleston News and Courier
A hell of a good story. The New York Times
Few novelists write as well, and none as beautifully. Lexington Herald-Leader
Pat] Conroy cuts through his experiences with a sharp edge of irony. . . . He brings emotion, writing talent and anger to his story. Baltimore Sun"
About the Author
Pat Conroy is the bestselling author of The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, and Beach Music. He lives in Fripp Island, South Carolina.
Reading Group Guide
1. How might Pat Conroy have handled the conflict with Bennington and Piedmont differently? In what ways was the outcome a foregone conclusion?
2. If Mrs. Brown was ashamed to be black, why did she teach on Yamacraw? Were there any instances when you thought Pat should have listened to her?
3.To what extent have we moved beyond the racism and segregation of the 1960s, in society and in our schools? How far do we still have to go?
4. Would todays litigation-obsessed society allow teachers to do the things that Pat does for his students? Why or why not?
5. How has modernization affected other rural or remote places like Yamacraw?
6. Conroy uses some unorthodox teaching methods with his students. Are they effective? Why or why not? How would they work today in our educational culture of testing and accountability?
7.Why is it so important to Conroy that the children see and experience the outside world? If you were to design a field trip for them, where would you take them and why?
8.Trace the evolution of Conroys racial views and attitudes throughout the book. What are key events in that evolution?
9. While he could and did have an impact on the childrens lives, what might he or others have done to improve the lives of the adults on Yamacraw?
10. Politicians and the press often like to blame the ills of public education on teachers. To what extent is poor teaching responsible for those ills? What other factors are involved, and how might those be remedied?