Conroy's descriptions are vivid. His insights stunning. All mothers should read this book to understand the potential of their influence to shape their offspring. All teachers should read this book if only the chapter titled "The Teacher". All writers should read this book to be whipped into excellence.
I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read any of Conroy's fiction--YET! I will begin with The Great Santini for further insight into the descriptions of his growing up years in a complex home environment that were introduced in Reading.
Conroy's immersion in significant poetry and prose--past and present--is matched by the size of his personal library. He said he has read 200 pages every day since his introduction to great literature in high school. It was Mr. Norris, his high school teacher, who insisted that he (Pat) put his thoughts in shipshape order and hold up his end of the conversation with both wit and decorum. Norris told him, "To be boring is not just a sin; it's a crime."
"Because I was raised Roman Catholic, I never feared taking any unchaperoned walks through the fields of language," Conroy said referring to the Latin deposits of dark minerals of its rhythm on the shelves of his spoken language "Words lifted me up and filled me with pleasure. I've never met a word I was afraid of, just ones that left me indifferent or that I knew I wouldn't ever put to use."
Fueled by this reading, I have aspirations of being the Grandma Moses of literature! I'll spare you the play by play of this book, but not without urging anyone who loves literature or aspires to write to read it for yourself!