Cloudbreak, California: A Memoir
Identity issues, father-son relationships, and surfing are themes that resonate in this fascinating recollection of a young man's coming of age. Daniels, an outcast with his classmates, finds his life changed when his criminal father shows up briefly at his high school before jumping bail and disappearing. This short encounter lays the basis for Daniels's vision of a future reunion with his criminal father. His quest for meaning leads Daniels to wander around Latin America and take odd jobs, while the "cloudbreak” that gives the book its title occurs in a surfing scene, where Daniels reunites with his apparently reformed father. This working out of their relationship, coupled with his final settling into college teaching, suggests that the author's quest for identity has found resolution in helping students tell their own stories. Daniels asserts that, like Odysseus, his wanderings have ceased and he has found contentment. This is an entertaining and well-crafted memoir, and even if it wraps up a little too neatly at the end, Daniels's story will resonate with readers.