San Francisco Chronicle – December 12, 2010
“If you relish the literary equivalent of a gospel shout-out, it’s tough to trump “My Reading Life,” Pat Conroy’s charming chronicle of his lifelong devotion to language, writing and books. The much-loved author of “The Prince of Tides,” “Beach Music” and “The Great Santini” floods these pages with memories both painful and sweet: his mother’s furious quest to educate herself by (omnivorous) reading, his violently abusive military father and, despite a boyhood “lonely as an earthworm,” Conroy’s hell-bent determination to write.”
Booklist – October 1, 2010
Conroy has given us many hours of reading pleasure with such popular novels as The Great Santini (1976) and The Prince of Tides (1986), and now it’s time for him to tell us what books have given him particular reading pleasure over the years of his reading life. And what a delightful little book this turns out to be, with a punch far sturdier than its compact size might suggest. It won’t come as a surprise that Conroy identifies himself as having been a “word-haunted boy.” And he goes on in that chapter (the book is divided into thematic chapters), which is about his school librarian, to insist that “from my earliest memories, I felt impelled to form a unique relationship with the English language.” As readers can tell from those words, Conroy’s southern upbringing informs the eloquent flow of his prose. His school librarian’s personality—“Her disposition was troll-like and her demeanor combative”—is counterposed by his mother’s both challenging and cultivating nature: “The world of books was set for me by the intellectual hunger of my mother.” Read, especially, the chapter on Gone with the Wind, and try to resist rereading it!
— Brad Hooper
Kirkus – September 15, 2010
“Truly affecting. From time’s bookshelf, Conroy selects some arresting volumes. The best-selling author offers remembrances and ruminations about favorite books, writers, and inspirations.”