Review: ‘Latitudes – A Story of Coming Home’

Here is a book beautifully constructed and crafted. Every sentence balanced, whole and relevant. ‘Latitudes – A Story of Coming Home’ by Anthony Caplan, evinces a poignant undertone of things lost and emotion suppressed; a story about a family separated by latitudes but never fully disconnected. On the separation of his parents, Will develops a steady cool exterior, a defensive distance between his circumstances and the behavior of his parents. Every event, however seemingly innocuous, can affect character and development. What I gleaned by the end of this beautifully written story, was that life itself is our teacher regardless of circumstances; basic character is built from adversity and from what we need to gain for ourselves. There is no doubt in my mind that Will’s experiences slowly strengthened him. At the end we know Will can deal with any kind of situation. Separation from his mother and sisters was both devastating and in some strange way, releasing. His father’s disinterest gave him the freedom (the latitude) to find his way to independence. And yet, right at the end he breaks down at his mother’s funeral and cries and cannot stop – and there we see fruition of that poignant undertone – the hidden damage that dysfunctional family brings. Will is starved of attention, always searching for that elusive element in his life which he cannot quite pinpoint; love. Understanding its lack, the implications of its loss in his life, is the key to coming home to that place beyond childhood we call adulthood. And author Anthony Caplan journeys us there with insight, empathy and style.

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