Caught Inside: A Surfing Passage
Children know, or at least they are told with a frequency that would suggest an intimate knowledge – how different their lives are from their parents and grandparents. They are told and explained the dissimilarities, in hyperbole and half jest around the dinner table, with barely contained cynicism when they are sent to their rooms in punishment. Children know – the way adults often presume they know – just how different their lives might have been just a generation before. And yet, we all take this fact for granted. We tease our grandparents for their “uphill, in the snow, both ways!” stories … we tease our parents for their “which was the style at the time” expositions. We know, and yet it is difficult to swim our way out of our own time, our own lives, our own experiences, and truly see another version, life, possibility, reality, perspective. We know, but it is often like looking through painted glass, a distorted truth that we cannot grasp.
In Lauren Benton Angulo’s novel, Caught Inside: a surfing passage, fifteen year old Kai is literally stuck in his own mind, and it is the voice of the long-lived Kekoa, detailing his life and the lessons he learned, that gives Kai not only a renewed will to live, but also a new perspective on his own life, a desire to be kinder and more understanding toward the people around him. Interspersed with Angulo’s intimate knowledge of surfing culture in Hawaii, is the story of two minds meeting and changing; of a young boy trapped in himself and his journey back; of an old man scared to reach out, but finding a way and a purpose. Both Kai and Kekoa represent for the reader, people Caught Inside themselves, their pain and their fears and their triumphs; and through their connection show us how vitally important it is to look outside of ourselves.
We assume that a “coming of age” story is one just for the adolescents in our lives, those just on the cusp of adulthood, those just coming out of childhood. I think this novel suggests that we never grow out of a need to remember and sympathize with each other. The phrase “coming of age” does this novel a disservice – the reader is NOT watching Kai learn to operate the body and mind of a fifteen year old, rather, joining both Kai and Kekoa on a journey towards empathy; one that I think we all need to be reminded of more often than we’d like to admit.
|Page Count||150 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|