Pat Conroy

Our Lifelong Friendship

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About The Book

For Pat Conroy fans, a loving, laughter-filled homage to a loyal, big-hearted friend.

Pat Conroy, the bestselling author of The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini among many other books, was beloved by millions of readers. Bernie Schein was his best friend from the time they met in a high-school pickup basketball game in Beaufort, South Carolina, until Conroy’s death in 2016. Both were popular athletes but also outsiders as a Jew and a Catholic military brat in the small-town Bible-Belt South, and they bonded. Wise ass and smart aleck, loudmouths both, they shared an ebullient sense of humor and romanticism, were mesmerized by the highbrow and reveled in the low, and would sacrifice entire evenings and afternoons to endless conversation. As young teachers in the Beaufort area and later in Atlanta, they were activists in the civil rights struggle and against institutional racism and bigotry. Bernie knew intimately the private family story of the Conroys and his friend’s difficult relationship with his Marine Corps colonel father that Pat would draw on repeatedly in his fiction.

A love letter and homage, and a way to share the Pat he knew, this book collects Bernie’s cherished memories about the gregarious, welcoming, larger-than-life man who remained his best friend, even during the years they didn’t speak. It offers a trove of insights and anecdotes that will be treasured by Pat Conroy’s many devoted fans.

About The Author

Bernie Schein was born, bred, and Bar Mitzvahed in Beaufort, South Carolina. He was an educator for forty-five years, for many of them in Atlanta. He is the author of three books, including If Holden Caulfield Were in My Classroom and the novel Famous All Over Town. He has been published and featured in numerous newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek, the Jewish Advocate, Atlanta magazine, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and interviewed on NPR and radio stations across the country. He is now an educational consultant as well as a humorist and raconteur. He and his wife live in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Arcade (August 2019)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781948924139

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Raves and Reviews

“Bernie Schein is the funniest man alive, or so he has dogmatically maintained during the burdensome decades I have known him. . . . [He is] by turns hysterically funny, wildly neurotic, uniquely sensitive, and heartbreakingly honest.”—Pat Conroy

“The friendship between Bernie Schein and Pat Conroy was long, deep, and all-encompassing. Bernie tells of it with fierce love, great particularity, and often the outrageous wit that makes him Bernie and no one else. Viva Bernie Schein for giving us his Pat Conroy." —Anne Rivers Siddons

Quotes for Famous All Over Town:
"Bernie Schein is the funniest man alive, or so he has dogmatically maintained during the burdensome decades I have known him. Like its author, this ambitious novel is by turns hysterically funny, wildly neurotic, uniquely sensitive, and heartbreakingly honest. Bernie has staked his claim on the literary landscape of the South with his unforgettable small town of equally unforgettable Jews, whites, blacks, marines, politicians, prostitutes, cops, killers, sell-outs, aristocrats, journalists, and rebels. He shies away from neither the best nor worse in us and, with compassion and authority, tells a story that is at once his own and that of everyone you will ever meet, each made famous all over town."—Pat Conroy

"Another time, another place—yet Somerset, South Carolina, is every small town anywhere in anytime. Its characters represent each of us in all of our flawed, tragicomic humanity. I know these people and you will, too. They're friends, relatives, neighbors, the people we go to church or synagogue with, the ones we wed and bed, love and hate, mourn and bury. Leaning on their backyard fences, they're already spreading the word: YOU are in this book!"—Cassandra King

"Bernie Schein's Famous All over Town achieves what engaging storytelling is supposed to achieve—expressive characters revealing spirited stories. Covering the 60s into the 90s of conflict and change in the lowcountry of South Carolina, Schein's cast of activists rise up in triumph. . . Splendidly written, it is a reader's delight."—Terry Kay, author of To Dance with the White Dog and The Book of Marie

"Every South Carolina schoolboy in the '60s knew the story of the shaved-head, steely-eyed recruits who were maliciously marched into the pluff mud at Parris Island, a place we all feared, for good reason. Within these pages, Bernie Schein transports us deep into that psychologically loaded place and time where religion and racism serve as barometric bookends to a tragedy that touched the lives of an entire town and resonated with the whole nation."—Ken Burger, author of Swallow Savannah, Sister Santee, and Salkehatchie Soup

"Famous All over Town captures the heart and essence of imperfect, lovable, infuriating, and admirable southern characters in a story full of vivid images and intersecting story lines from the '60s through the '90s. With a soft heart and a calloused hand, Bernie Schein introduces us to a South we might not ever know without him, and it's a place I'd like to settle in for good."—Patti Callahan Henry, author of The Stories We Tell, And Then I Found You, and others

"Since you can't sing "Dixie," "We Shall Overcome," and "My Yiddishe Momme" all at once, you must read this splendid novel, a vision of the small-town South, past and present, that will rattle your funny bone and rend your heart."—Peter Golden, author of Comeback Love

"No one is more uniquely qualified to write about his friendship with my late husband, Pat Conroy, than his oldest and closest friend, Bernie Schein. Because they shared the same irreverent humor, biting intellect, and big-hearted personalities, their bond was powerful enough to survive the many turmoils and betrayals that came their way. Bernie’s portrayal of his decades-long relationship with Pat is intimate, honest, heartbreaking, and highly readable. This book is an ode to a rare, complex, and loving friendship."—Cassandra King Conroy, author of The Sunday Wife

“Bernie Schein is the funniest man alive, or so he has dogmatically maintained during the burdensome decades I have known him. . . . [He is] by turns hysterically funny, wildly neurotic, uniquely sensitive, and heartbreakingly honest.”—Pat Conroy

“The friendship between Bernie Schein and Pat Conroy was long, deep, and all-encompassing. Bernie tells of it with fierce love, great particularity, and often the outrageous wit that makes him Bernie and no one else. Viva Bernie Schein for giving us his Pat Conroy." —Anne Rivers Siddons

Quotes for Famous All Over Town:
"Bernie Schein is the funniest man alive, or so he has dogmatically maintained during the burdensome decades I have known him. Like its author, this ambitious novel is by turns hysterically funny, wildly neurotic, uniquely sensitive, and heartbreakingly honest. Bernie has staked his claim on the literary landscape of the South with his unforgettable small town of equally unforgettable Jews, whites, blacks, marines, politicians, prostitutes, cops, killers, sell-outs, aristocrats, journalists, and rebels. He shies away from neither the best nor worse in us and, with compassion and authority, tells a story that is at once his own and that of everyone you will ever meet, each made famous all over town."—Pat Conroy

"Another time, another place—yet Somerset, South Carolina, is every small town anywhere in anytime. Its characters represent each of us in all of our flawed, tragicomic humanity. I know these people and you will, too. They're friends, relatives, neighbors, the people we go to church or synagogue with, the ones we wed and bed, love and hate, mourn and bury. Leaning on their backyard fences, they're already spreading the word: YOU are in this book!"—Cassandra King

"Bernie Schein's Famous All over Town achieves what engaging storytelling is supposed to achieve—expressive characters revealing spirited stories. Covering the 60s into the 90s of conflict and change in the lowcountry of South Carolina, Schein's cast of activists rise up in triumph. . . Splendidly written, it is a reader's delight."—Terry Kay, author of To Dance with the White Dog and The Book of Marie

"Every South Carolina schoolboy in the '60s knew the story of the shaved-head, steely-eyed recruits who were maliciously marched into the pluff mud at Parris Island, a place we all feared, for good reason. Within these pages, Bernie Schein transports us deep into that psychologically loaded place and time where religion and racism serve as barometric bookends to a tragedy that touched the lives of an entire town and resonated with the whole nation."—Ken Burger, author of Swallow Savannah, Sister Santee, and Salkehatchie Soup

"Famous All over Town captures the heart and essence of imperfect, lovable, infuriating, and admirable southern characters in a story full of vivid images and intersecting story lines from the '60s through the '90s. With a soft heart and a calloused hand, Bernie Schein introduces us to a South we might not ever know without him, and it's a place I'd like to settle in for good."—Patti Callahan Henry, author of The Stories We Tell, And Then I Found You, and others

"Since you can't sing "Dixie," "We Shall Overcome," and "My Yiddishe Momme" all at once, you must read this splendid novel, a vision of the small-town South, past and present, that will rattle your funny bone and rend your heart."—Peter Golden, author of Comeback Love

"No one is more uniquely qualified to write about his friendship with my late husband, Pat Conroy, than his oldest and closest friend, Bernie Schein. Because they shared the same irreverent humor, biting intellect, and big-hearted personalities, their bond was powerful enough to survive the many turmoils and betrayals that came their way. Bernie’s portrayal of his decades-long relationship with Pat is intimate, honest, heartbreaking, and highly readable. This book is an ode to a rare, complex, and loving friendship."—Cassandra King Conroy, author of The Sunday Wife

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