Frankly, some of it is gut wrenching. From the prologue: "I was the oldest of seven children; five of us would try to kill ourselves before the age of forty."
If you read the book, it will become abundantly clear why that is true.
I read all of his books because I love the low country including Fripp Island and Beaufort. I also enjoy his writing and the unexpected patches of humor in the most unlikely of circumstances. In that setting, the book simply serves as the backstory for all that came before; it is not a stand alone tale of redemption.
I would not recommend it to anyone not already invested in Mr. Conroy's writing.
P.S. "Prince of Tides" was actually my favorite, but the casting in the movie confused me greatly. Who on earth would even consider Barbara Streisand over Blythe Danner? It simply wasn't credible.