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The Water Is Wide

Conroy, Pat (Book - 1974 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Water Is Wide
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Baker & Taylor
A teacher recounts his year on Yamacraw Island off the coast of South Carolina helping black children become aware of the world around them and the importance of self-respect

Authors: Conroy, Pat
Title: The water is wide
Publisher: [New York, Dell Pub. Co., 1974, c1972]
Characteristics: 316 p. 18 cm.
Subject Headings: African Americans Education (Elementary) South Carolina Yamacraw Elementary School
Topical Term: African Americans
ISBN: 039513644X
Research Call Number: Sc 372.975-C (Conroy, P. Water is wide)
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May 26, 2014
  • Jane60201 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book, published in 1972, seems somewhat dated now. However, the emotion the author brings to it makes it still a good read.

I listened to this as an audiobook and I did notice all the big words, (a trademark of Conroy,) that would have daunted some. My husband is not a big reader, and would have never made it through this, but he really enjoyed listening to it. So get the audiobook, you won't be disappointed! Note: this was my introduction to Pay Conroy's work. I am hooked! Note: They made a movie of this, and it wasn't in our library system, or even in the whole system of Alberta.......but my sweet librarian ordered a copy for me! Thanks Diane!

Aug 01, 2012
  • glasglowdroid rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

The story is good and is fun to read, but the author uses way too many words to describe even the most trivial things. This makes the book and slow read. Generally, it is still enjoyable.

May 18, 2011
  • Cdnbookworm rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This book talks about the months in 1969 and 1970 that Conroy taught at a small black school on Yamacraw Island, South Carolina.
Conroy was appalled at the lack of knowledge of the students (grade 5 to grade 8) that he was responsible for. Many could not read, or do simple math. They lacked knowledge of geography, history, and science. Conroy had taught high school before and so was not prepared with all the tools to teach younger children. He relied on his instincts and used ingenuity to find ways to engage the children, enrich their learning experience and fight for their right to a decent education. He encountered racism, apathy, and indifference. He was not always wise or prudent in his fight and it ended with him being fired and never teaching again. But it taught him a great deal.
It is an interesting memoir of a specific period with a specific situation.

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page 289

"Survival is the most important thing. As a bona fide ass-kisser, I might lose a measure of self-respect, but I could be teaching and helping kids. As it is, I have enough self-respect to fertilize Yankee Stadium, but I am not doing a thing for anybody. I could probably still be with the Yamacraw kids had I conquered my ego."

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