1. Is there a symbolic reference between his descriptions of Charleston to the characters in the book?  Leo/Steve, mother/father?  Father called Charleston “the Mansion on the River” (rivers being the Ashley and the Cooper).  Pg 2 “Not a high-kicking, glossy, or lipsticked city, not a city with bells n its fingers or brightly painted toenails, but a ruffled, low-slung city, understated and tolerant of nothing mismade or ostentations.” 
  1. Pg. 9:  “On June 16, 1969, a series of unrelated events occurred:…”  How does this frame the story? 


  1. Leo refuses to divulge the name of the boy he is protecting for placing drugs in his pocket.  Do you think he did the right thing?  And, how did this characterize him for the rest of the novel?
  1. Some of Conroy’s sentences are so pure, so breathtakingly beautiful, they have to be read and read again.  Pg. 45 for example…1st paragraph.


  1. Ch 7, pg. 117 Party time – the racial issue is in full swing here, do any of you recall your own youth and how the races clashed/integrated/stayed segregated?  Want to share a story?  Reading this did you empathize, sympathize, criticize?  What did Conroy portray here?  The bias, the integration or the ugliness/beauty of the time?
  1. Pg 135 – we jump from 1969 to 1989, 20 years later.  He’s a journalist, Sheba’s a movie star and he married Starla!  What did you think of this leap and did you wonder the why of it?    


  1. Pgs. 155 – 164…what did you think of all the venomous comments here, particularly between Sheba and Leo’s mother?
  1. Book reminded me of St. Elmo’s Fire.


  1. Pgs. 238-9  Could the man who had been stalking Anna Cole been connected to Trevor?  (We later find out that he is indeed – Trevor’s father!  Pg. 276)
  1. Pg. 246 has Leo’s List of “Southern”…how do you relate/compare/feel about this?


  1. Pg 249  Sheba describes each character’s nature…Do you agree?
  1. Pgs. 293-297 – the rescue of Trevor – WOW!  Bunny (a former Raiders lineman) knows who they are through the Caen article.  He can find their homes.  How will they now catch “father” after Bunny & vice/versa?  Ahh, on pg. 299, Bunny and social worker are jailed.


  1. Pg. 302 Serious retrograde in time….goes back to school-aged days?  Why now?  They’ve just found and saved Trevor and are headed home!  Why shift backward.   While well-written, it was ruinous to me.
  1. Sister Polycarp?  Nuns take on the names of martyrs and saints…St. Polycarp was born sometime between 75-80 AD and served the Lord as Bishop in Turkey.  Emperor Marcus Aurelius’s soldiers tried to burn him at the stake, but he went unharmed.  They then stabbed him in the heart and so in the year 155, Polycarp died a martyr. 


  1. A barber in Chimney Rock (Para 2) says the Whiteheads had a reputation for being “disputatious and stubborn, and they had a particular antipathy toward officers of the law.”  Is this language something you’d expect from a long-lived, mountain-town barber?
  1. Pg. 393 – Starla was named for the star of Bethlehem…my research did not pick this up.  I did find Stella and Estella to mean star and related to the star of Bethlehem.


  1. Pg. 411 – story picks up again with Trevor being brought to Charleston! 
  1. Pg. 442, para 1, “abattoir” – a slaughterhouse, a place where animals are butchered.  The room where Starla is killed and her bloodied mother is holding the knife.


  1. Pg. 447 Sheba’s funeral, Sept. 11 (c’mon!)  – with a maniac father/killer on the loose do you really think that Streep, Eastwood, Pacino, Newman, etc would come?  On Sept. 21, Hugo arrives in Charleston…what happened with Daddy in between?  He’s still out there!
  1. Pg. 450 – Ch. Title “Guernica” – a Pablo Picasso painting that showed the tragedies of war and the suffering it inflicts upon individuals, especially innocent civilians (Wikipedia).  Hugo has arrived….apropos title!


  1. Pg. 469 – after the release of the porpoise, this last section is boring!
  1. Pg. 481 – Niles killed daddy and locked him in the shed!  Did anyone get that prior to the arrival of Hugo when Niles is coming in after locking it?


  1. Pg. 500 – the Monsignor raped Steven!  We finally learn the “whys” of Steven’s suicide and come full circle. 
  1. This book has tragedy, trauma, ruin and redemption.  For me, it began with relish, eloquence and rapid fire but dissolved into a less than exciting finish.  I felt like Hugo had gotten a part of the finish and just tossed it around leaving the remaining answers strewed about.  What did you think?


What did you think of the title “South of Broad” and in what ways is this term used/described in the book?

  1. Pg. 204  Fraser took Niles’s hand and together they crossed that line of distinction called South of Broad… , this is a different description for the book’s title.  Pg. 319, para. 4 --  “Pampered world South of Broad” referring now to the street/area of Charleston.  Unlike pg. 204.  Pg. 327, para 11 – “South of Broad is a conspiracy of platelets, son: blood and breeding are all that matter there.  No, that’s not true: there’s got to be a truck full of money somewhere near the blood bank.”  Pg. 388 “Chimney Rock (NC) would be a lonesome stretch of mountain road beside the boulder-strewn Broad River.”  Pg. 390 – The Board River of NC.