themes are there -- suicide, depression, abusive families, chosen family -- and there's nothing wrong with these, in general. What's wrong with them specifically in South of Broad is that Conroy does nothing new with them. The reviewer in EW
said that the main character reminds him of Tom Wingo in the far superior The Prince of Tides. I wouldn't go that far, but Leo King doesn't bring anything interesting to the world of Conroy characters. What's frustrating to me about a less than wonderful Conroy novel is that we have to wait so long in between books; he's not prolific like Stephen King, so that I can ignore the books I don't like, knowing a new one will be coming along soon. Beach Music was his last novel and that was in 1995. I hope the next Conroy novel is better -- maybe I'll still be alive for it.