Cloudbreak, California.

Author:Mulvahill, Karen
Position:Book review

Kelly Daniels (author); CLOUDBREAK, CALIFORNIA; Owl Canyon Press (Nonfiction: Autobiography & Memoir) 16.95 ISBN: 9780983476450

Byline: Karen Mulvahill

"The whole father-son thing" drifts into focus in memoir of killer's son.

Cloudbreak, California is Kelly Daniels' memoir of drifting through a series of adventures in Latin America, while attempting to reconcile the fantasy and the reality of his elusive father.

His early childhood home in California was a step van, the family moving from beach to beach, his father more interested in the perfect wave than his son. Tripping on mescaline when his second son is born -- in the van -- ultimately Daniels' father drifts in and out, showing up one day to pull Daniels from his ninth-grade classroom and tell him that he has killed someone. Then he jumps bail and disappears.

Told in the structure of fiction, Daniels sprinkles interior monologues among tales of adventure in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico. Ironically, the young Daniels becomes even more of a vagabond than his father. "Something about moving, particularly away from responsibilities, always lightened my spirit," he writes.

The ability to surf becomes a metaphor for Daniels' ability to relate to his father. And he can't do either. But, as children will, he blames himself for having been afraid the first time his father took him out. "If only I'd handled myself more courageously, Dad would then have been more interested in teaching me to surf "

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