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The Boo by Pat Conroy

The Boo

by Pat Conroy

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144483,153 (2.82)12
  1. 00
    The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy (galacticus)
    galacticus: Both books depicts life at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina.

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What better way to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day than to read the first book ever published by Pat Conroy! It is a fictional memoir written in 1969 and now reissued as an ebook with no changes.
The story is a tribute to the disciplinarian at the Citadel, a military college in South Carolina. Although "The Boo" ,aka Lt.Col. Thomas Nugent Courvoisie, didn't teach a structured class, he taught the cadets many valuable lessons in life.
Cadet Peter Cates(read Pat Conroy) knows all the stories about the infamous man and desperately tries to avoid the Lt. Col. at all costs. Courvoisie strikes terror in all the cadets using an in-your-face cigar and a booming voice. He seems to be everywhere a young man doesn't want him to be. ConroyCates pats himself on the back:he is an average student no one seems to see. Then the first fateful day when this writer shows how talented he is by writing a derogatory poem about two instructors. In true military fashion he is ratted out and faces the wrath of the Lt. Col. ConroyCates runs afoul a second time but is now adept at leaving no trace of himself so "The Boo" cannot touch him.
After graduation Pat Conroy decides to memorialize this larger-than-life man and most of the book centers around student memories. Two sections, both called "Bits and Pieces" ,are snippets cadets or "The Boo" remember most. It is a tale of the rise and fall of one man who genuinely liked his "lambs" even when he called them "bums". One man was able to turn several generations of men into responsible,caring,productive members of society.
The book is choppy but glimpses of the future writer are evident in his descriptions,eg. everything in a cadet's life is gray and you learn to envelope this color blending in and getting out.
In real life, "The Boo" was fazed out and a new, not necessarily better regime came to power; an order not so understanding or caring . This is a bittersweet tale about a man who gave his all and the people who knew him best and it is a wonderful tribute to those teachers who may not have taught a class but have freely given their time and energy to help turn boys into honorable gentlemen. ( )
  elliezann | May 4, 2011 |
Pat Conroy’s recent decision to release all of his books in e-book format included one little bonus for his longtime readers. The Boo, Conroy’s first, and sometimes hardest-to-find, book was included in the package deal. This might not sound like a big deal to casual readers of Conroy’s better known novels and memoirs, but for many Conroy collectors it offers a great opportunity to finally complete their Pat Conroy collections.

The Boo is said to be a novel and, despite its rather awkward construction, it is probably best classified that way. But there can be little doubt that it is also a very personal piece of writing in which Conroy reveals much about himself and the man who became a father-figure to him during his years at the Citadel. This is Conroy’s tribute to the school’s chief disciplinarian Lt. Colonel (and Assistant Commandant) T.N. Courvoisie, a man who took on a larger-than-life persona for the cadets of his era. That Courvoisie was so poorly treated by The Citadel at the end of his career only makes the book that much more poignant.

The book itself is a collection of letters, formal disciplinary incident reports and student responses to the reports, primitively drawn cartoons, poems, photographs, memorabilia, excerpts from the school press, and character studies involving student run-ins with Lt. Colonel Courvoisie (affectionately known to his “lambs” as The Boo). For those less familiar with military terminology, Conroy also includes a lengthy glossary of military slang used at the Citadel by students and faculty alike. Further blurring the truth vs. fiction aspects of The Boo, Conroy chose to include a lengthy list of the colonel’s favorite students. If these are not the names of actual students, the lists serve little purpose; if they are real names, they must have been aimed directly at what Conroy perceived would be his likeliest audience for the book.

The Boo does not work particularly well as a traditional novel because of its jarring structure, but it does work very well as a tribute to a man who seems to have been truly loved by the majority of students that knew him. While the book does not represent Pat Conroy’s finest work, it will be of great interest to those who have read the rest of Mr. Conroy’s output. Pat Conroy, the author whose work so many have grown to love over the past several decades, is in there somewhere. The fun is trying to find him amidst the clutter of The Boo.

Rated at: 3.0 ( )
  SamSattler | Jan 4, 2011 |
4223 The Boo, by Pat Conroy (read 29 Oct 2006) This is nonfiction and tells of a character at The Citadel, from which Conroy graduated in 1967. Lt. Col. Nugent Courvoisie is a tough though kindly figure much responsible for cadet discipline from 1961 to 1968. Many of the stories told are so "inside" that one who did not go to the school has trouble appreciating them. His novel The Lords of Discipline, which I read with keen appreciation 26 Feb 1997, is a much more compelling read. ( )
  Schmerguls | Oct 27, 2007 |
When I purchased this book, the clerk said "Aren't you glad you're not related to him?" ( )
  jwalton | Mar 14, 2007 |
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Bestselling author Pat Conroy’s debut novel—now available as an ebookA powerful story of a man’s undoing at the hands of his greatest admirer At the South Carolina military academy the Citadel, amid the tumult of the 1960s, Cadet Peter Cates is an anomaly. He is a gifted writer, a talented basketball player, and a good student, but his outward successes do little to impress his abusive father. Instead, Cates is mentored by Lt. Colonel Courvoisie, an imposing and inspiring man whom the cadets have nicknamed “the Boo.” But when Cates writes a searing letter condemning the school’s meek response to a stabbing on campus, his bond with the Boo will be threatened as both are forced to confront what it means to be a man of honor. Set against the richly drawn military school backdrop that Conroy would return to in his bestseller The Lords of Discipline, The Boo is an unforgettable story of duty, loyalty, and standing up for what is right in the face of overwhelming circumstances.… (more)

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