Have you ever been afraid of a book, not wanting to begin it because you have reason to believe that it will disappoint you? It has happened to me on more than one occasion, usually with a book I have looked forward to getting my hands on for months, or even years. Sometimes I found my fears to have been misguided, other times I found them to have been legitimate. It's been about a 50-50 proposition in the past.
That is the position I find myself in now with the new Pat Conroy novel, South of Broad. I know, I know. I'm not supposed to let myself be influenced by the opinions of others, be they professional critics or readers/dabblers like me. I'm supposed to read the book myself, decide why I like or dislike it, and then tell the world about it. That's the way it always works - but when the book is by one of my top two or three favorite writers, I find myself hesitating to get on with it.
I mean, look at the Amazon link, above, and you will find 215 customer reviews that average out to an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5.0 stars for the book. This is Pat Conroy we're talking about and this is a book his fans have waited not so patiently for for the last 14 years. And it gets 3.5 stars from 215 readers? How can that be? Even the pros are giving South of Broad mixed reviews, so I can't blow it off by saying that it's just amateurs like me getting it wrong.
I know I'm going to have to crack it open soon...butI dread it.