Atlanta Art Reviews by Susan K Asher
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Author Pat Conroy Speaks Sunday at MJCCA

2013 November 13


When reading about Pat Conroy’s abusive childhood, my dysfunctional family life seems not so dysfunctional. But then I’ll read something that brings me back to a horrible memory, and I’m not so sure. No matter whose childhood was worse–Pat’s clearly was–there are few people who could tell a story as compelling as he.

This Sunday, The New York Times best-selling author, whose two novels “The Prince of Tides” and “The Great Santini” were made into Oscar-nominated films, will speak at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Former Atlanta Journal-Constitution book reviewer, now an Atlanta Magazine columnist, Teresa Weaver, will host the talk. She conducted an interview with him that was published in the magazine’s November issue, which features riveting excerpts from Conroy’s new memoir, “The Death of Santini.”

“The Great Santini” was based on Conroy’s family and his emotionally and physically abusive father, Marine Col. Donald Conroy. “The Death of Santini” continues the tale, but it’s not wrapped around the “fictitious” Lt. Col. Wilbur “Bull” Meechum family. In his memoir, Conroy introduces readers to his family and tales about his father: A father who backhanded him after a Little League game for making errors, who slapped him in the face for missing a tackle, and who cheered to his son’s opposing team, “Cut Conroy’s legs out from under him!”

“Every time my father took off in an airplane,” Conroy writes, “I prayed that the plane would crash and his body be consumed by fire. For thirty-one years, this is how I felt about him.”

My sister told me we have to see him this Sunday at the Jewish Book Festival. On the way home from his talk we may cry about his past and ours. Or we may say, “At least our lives weren’t that bad.”

Pat Conroy speaks at the MJCCA at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Numerous other authors will speak there this week:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 12:00 pm (Member: $9 / Community: $14)

Andrea Pomerantz Lustig, How To Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Secrets to Getting Gorgeous Without Breaking the Bank

Andrea Pomerantz Lustig is known around the offices of Glamour magazine as the “Beauty Sleuth,” thanks to the popular beauty column and articles she has written for the magazine for the last decade. In How to Look Expensive, she combines her own experience with coveted secrets she’s learned from the experts to help readers achieve red-carpet looks without putting them in the red.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 8:00 pm (Member: $18 / Community: $24)

Alan Dershowitz, Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law

America’s most prominent legal mind and the #1 bestselling author of Chutzpah and The Best Defense, Alan Dershowitz, recounts his legal autobiography, describing how he came to the law, as well as the cases that have changed American jurisprudence over the past 50 years, most of which he has personally been involved in.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2:00 pm (Member: $9 / Community: $14)

One Program; Two Authors

This program will be “In Conversation” with Melissa Long, Anchor, WXIA-TV

  • Lynn Povich, Good Girls Revolt! How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace

Lynn Povich, the first female senior editor in the history of Newsweek, tells the unknown story of a landmark sex discrimination suit brought by 46 young women at Newsweek against the magazine in 1970. Through the lives of young female journalists at Newsweek today, Povich shows what has – and hasn’t – changed in the workplace.

  • Lori Rotskoff, When We Were Free to Be Free to Be: Looking Back at a Children’s Classic and the Difference it Made

If you grew up or raised children during the era of mood rings and lava lamps, you probably re­member Free to Be . . . You and Me—the ground­breaking children’s record, book, and television special that debuted in 1972. Conceived by actress Marlo Thomas, it inspired generations of girls and boys to challenge stereotypes, value cooperation, respect diversity, and reach for any dream. The book’s editors and contributors combine personal narrative, and historical analysis, to address how progressive children’s media still speaks to families today.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 4:30 pm (Member: $9 / Community: $14)

One Program; Three Authors

  • Robert Weintraub, The Victory Season: World War II, the Homecoming, and the Birth of Baseball’s Golden Age (*Local Author!)

In the spring of 1946, Americans were ready to heal. WWII was finally over, and hundreds of players, including stars like Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and Joe DiMaggio returned home to get back to baseball. Robert Wein­traub brings to life the on-field action, as well as the little-known tales of ballplay­ers at war.

  • Larry Ruttman, American Jews and America’s Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball

The Jewish presence in baseball extends beyond a few famous players such as Greenberg, Rosen, Koufax, Holtzman, Green, Youkilis, and Braun. The stories tell the history of the larger-than-life role of Jews in America’s pastime. American Jews talks about growing up Jewish and dealing with Jewish identity, in­termarriage, religious observance, anti-Semitism, and Israel. Each tells about being in the midst of the colorful pantheon of players who, over the past 75 years or more, have made baseball what it is.

  • John Rosengren, Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes

Delving into the life and career of America’s first Jewish superstar, author John Rosengren brings us a definitive portrait of a man who overcame the prejudices of a world in turmoil to achieve base­ball immortality and become a hero to a genera­tion of Jewish-Americans. As an outsider who rose to the top of the nation’s quintessential game, no one represents the American experience quite like Greenberg.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 7:30 pm (Member: 18 / Community: $24)

Closing Night  – This program will be “In Conversation” with Theresa Weaver, Columnist, Atlanta Magazine

Pat Conroy, The Death of Santini

In this powerful and intimate new memoir, The Death of Santini is a heart-wrenching account of personal and family struggle, and a poignant lesson in how ties of blood can both strangle and offer succor. It is an act of reckoning, an exorcism of demons, but one whose ultimate conclusion is that love can conquer even the meanest of men.

Visit MJCCA for tickets to all speakers.

 

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