This memoir of a fifty-year friendship with the bestselling author is “remarkably intimate [and] riotously funny . . . very moving.” —Joseph L. Galloway, coauthor of We Were Soldiers Once and Young
Pat Conroy, author of such novels as The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini, was beloved by millions of readers. Bernie Schein was his best friend from the time they met as teens in a pickup basketball game in Beaufort, South Carolina, until Conroy’s death in 2016. Both were popular, but also outsiders as a Jew and a Catholic military brat in the small-town Bible-Belt South, and they bonded. Wiseass and smart aleck, loudmouths both, they shared an ebullient sense of humor and romanticism, were mesmerized by the highbrow and reveled in the low, and would sacrifice entire afternoons and evenings to endless conversation.
As young teachers, they were activists for civil rights and against institutional racism and bigotry. Bernie knew intimately the private family story of the Conroys and the difficult relationship with his Marine Corps colonel father that Pat would draw on repeatedly in his fiction. A love letter and homage, and a way to share the Pat he knew, this book collects Bernie’s cherished memories about the gregarious, welcoming, larger-than-life man who remained his best friend, even during the years they didn’t speak, and offers a trove of insights and anecdotes.
“Honest in its portrayal of both Conroy and Schein’s own conflicted feelings toward the novelist, the lucid narrative deftly explores the complexities of a lifelong friendship. A thoughtful, poignant, and candid memoir.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An inside look at a person who became famous. Painfully famous…Schein dissects their relationship like a therapist. But to me, it’s a look at something rarer than fame: a close friendship.” —Charlotte Observer
“Bernie Schein is the funniest man alive, or so he has dogmatically maintained during the burdensome decades I have known him. [He is] by turns hysterically funny, wildly neurotic, uniquely sensitive, and heartbreakingly honest.” —Pat Conroy