In Pat Conroy's South of Broad, the main characters bond as high school seniors in Charleston, S. C., and remain a close-knit group through the 1970's and '80's. One of the group becomes an Oscar-winning movie actress and another Charleston's first black police chief. I found the story outrageous, cliche'-ridden and short on character development. I persevered through its 512 pages, but would not encourage others to do so. It did not measure up to two of my Conroy favorites, "The Prince of Tides" and "Beach Music."