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Writing The City: Jennifer Latson

We talk a big game when it comes to love and empathy. But what would life be like if you could never turn that switch off?


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Journalist Jennifer Latson
Courtesy of her website.
Journalist Jennifer Latson

Journalist Jennifer Latson likes the kind of stories that come out of being embedded. “I always thought that led to better, more genuine glimpses of peoples’ lives,” she said. But she didn’t quite know what she was in for when she began to follow Gayle and Eli D’Angelo, which she did for three years. Eli, who was 12 when she first joined them, has Williams Syndrome, a genetic disorder that among other things, makes people extremely friendly and trusting. “I feel like nothing could really prepare you for how intense that ends up being,” Latson says, “Just watching his mom trying to peal him off strangers, or try to keep him from wandering off with whoever he’s just met in line at the grocery store – that was so taxing to me, just to be observing it!”

The Boy Who Loved Too Much by Jennifer Latson
Simon & Schuster

In The Boy Who Loved Too Much, Jennifer Latson follows Eli and Gayle as they maneuver Eli’s coming of age as a person with Williams Syndrome. In a style that echoes the writing of Oliver Sacks and David Eagleman, she tells the story of someone without boundaries learning to navigate those of the rest of the world, and talks about the uniquely important information that the genetics behind Williams Syndrome stands to teach us.

Jennifer Latson’s The Boy Who Loved Too Much is being released on June 20, 2017. She’ll be signing copies of her book that day at the Brazos Bookstore.

An edited version of this interview also aired on Houston Matters.