Pat Conroy's The Prince of Tides is one of my favorites. I read it when it was first published and have read it three more times over the years. I've used passages as illustrations for sermons. I used the book in CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) to explain family dynamics. I love this Conroy book more than I do his other novels. I've read the novels but Tides is the best.
I saw the movie, based on the book, with Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte. It was dreadful. I like Barbra's movies and saw Nick in Tides before I saw his mug shot at www.thesmokinggun.com. I like Nick as an actor, too. However, the movie is the pits and does not convey the power of the novel. Many movies from novels are not good but Tides was a big disappointment.
I found Tides on audio tape at a garage sale. Richard Thomas, an actor I appreciate and think of as a decent guy, reads the novel.
I could just cry. Thomas reads Conroy badly. First, Thomas' Southern accent is hokey and silly. He doesn't even pronounce "kudzu" correctly. His researchers should have prompted him on the loveliness of a masculine South Carolina accent. Nope. He reads or declaims the novel as though it the words don't matter.
Conroy's narrator, Tom Wingo, is not a fool or silly. He should be read with seriousness, not mockery as he tells a story of great pain and betrayal. The prose is beautiful enough to make me cry but the reading was dreadful. Thomas' voice is appealing in other settings but the man cannot do a Southern accent and I wish a Southerner could have heard Thomas and stopped him from doing the audio book.
I fret that people who saw the movie or heard the audio book won't read the novel. The novel is wonderful with funny stories, astounding meanness and an appreciation for the South that resonates with me.
I listen to audio tapes weekly because of my child-hauling and trips up through the county to church. I love this medium of hearing books spoken out loud.
I'm trashing the Tides audio tapes. I don't want another person to be put off the novel by listening to the tapes. I mean it.