The Lords of Discipline Book Review

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to read 12 books in 2019—one a month. At the beginning of April, I realized I hadn’t read a single book and I was also starting to really crave a story to read and follow along with.

Anyway, I randomly sifted through one of the bookshelves in my house and one found The Lords of Disciple by Pat Conroy, one of the books that my mom has always raved about so I thought I would give it a go. I’m not so sure why I was so hesitant in reading this book because as my mama told me, it turned out to be SO GOOD and it is definitely one of my favorites.

About the Book

Pat Conroy graduated from the Citadel, a military college in South Carolina. The Lords of Discipline is about a young man by the name of Will McLean that is a student at The Institute, a military college in the heart of Charleston. Although the Institute does not really exist, Conroy modeled it after his experience at the Citadel as well as his knowledge of other academies. The Institute is built on a foundation of trust, discipline, loyalty, and honor. She requires each of her members to uphold every single one of these values with their own integrity.

Conroy’s novel is the story of Will, his three roommates and their journey throughout their years at the Institute. During their time there, they reveal unknown layers of not only themselves but of the Institute as well. Their experience at the Institute is a whirlwind of hazing, violence, passion, and friendship. Along with that, race, southern aristocracy, prejudices, a secret society with the school, romance, and a search for one’s true identity and purpose all play vital roles in the four roommates time at the Institute.

My Thoughts

I say this so honestly: The Lords of Discipline is my new favorite book. Something about the way Conroy writes, captivates and sweeps you off your feet from the first page to the last and even still, you find yourself day dreaming about the characters and their stories.

One thing I found so comforting while reading this was the setting. As I mentioned, it takes place in Charleston, SC and references Savannah, GA as well as other parts of the low-country. Although I haven’t spent too much time in this area of the country, the time I have spent there, reminded me of (a much cleaner and calmer version of) New Orleans, the city in which I was born in, as well as a city where a large majority of my family has been born and raised. Much of who my family and I are today, I believe, comes directly from our location of origin, Southern Louisiana, which shares many moral commonalties with the low country east coast. Setting the story aside, the location in which the story takes place was one I loved reading about. I honestly felt at times as though I was standing in the cobblestone streets of Savannah beneath three hundred year old olds that were garnish in gobs of Old Spanish moss.

In terms of the story itself, it reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Top Gun (if you haven’t seen it, you HAVE to). The way that the characters interact with one another—the crude, snarky, and rather humorous remarks, the expectation that is held, and the incredible, unexplainable bond that is formed reminds me so much of Top Gun. Throughout the novel, Will explains the bittersweet relationship he develops with the Institute, yet ultimately, the Institute becomes something he is so incredibly attached to and in love with. In a way, that is how I began to feel about this book. Yes, there was some really awful things that happened throughout the novel, but nevertheless, i found myself so captivated and in love with the book, the story, and the characters.

Frankly, i can continue writing and attempting to explain why I loved this book, but I just won’t be able to do it justice. So please, take it upon yourself to read The Lords of Discipline and once you have, do let me know your thoughts.

Currently I am reading another one of Conroy’s works, The Prince of Tides, which I am really excited for and will of course fill you in on when done.

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