Caleb S Branch

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This is certainly an unusual tale. Here we have Caleb, a child from a single and destitute mother, who is taken in by a trusted friend of the family. The father figure for Caleb has never been a father; he is not married and has little experience with children. Despite all of this, the two blend well together and create their own version of “family” – with just the two of them.

Issues from raising a child as a single father, without a mother’s presence and tackling stereotyped views that a man cannot adopt a child by himself were raised in a compelling manor right from the start. Difficulties in handling corrupt and ruined systems in some medical and childcare arenas are also raised with strong emotion. The author brings up the fact that schools who teach children as a generic mass rather than focusing on the individual, leave too many children on their own. Careless doctors, thoughtless education systems, unreasonable and unbending childcare rules… All of these are addressed in Caleb’s Branch.

Young Caleb is a gifted and abused child that is overdosed with prescription drugs, strung out and hyper active when he arrives at his new home. He has a secret ability to see things that others cannot. The author uses this to slip back in time to the family who lived on the same piece land generations ago, where we are shown another kind of a father-son relationship.

Often justifiable, but tiring and emotional rants were used to relay the rage and frustration felt by the new father in this story. The writing style was definitely descriptive – sometimes a little over descriptive for my tastes. The way the author concluded Caleb’s Branch had me wondering if I had missed some pages, because it didn’t really conclude. It is painfully obvious that there will be a book two on the slate, which might provide the explanations and closure that are missing in this book.

Caleb’s Branch, a relatively large book with over 400 pages, is difficult to classify. It is a family non-fiction with mysterious and paranormal occurrences that involves two families separated by generations, yet connected through a little boy named Caleb and the land they have all called “home”. I thought it was particularly interesting that the author showed how having children can sometimes bring a new understanding of our upbringing and our parents – and therefore, of our selves.

Word count: 404


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