Friday, December 27, 2013

BEING HENRY DAVID by Cal Armistead

A seventeen year old male wakes up in NYC's Penn Station with no ID and no idea who he is.  With nothing but a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau, he senses something has gone wrong in his life but doesn't have a clue what it could be.

Figuring maybe the book could reveal some answers to his many questions, he adopts the name Henry David (Hank) and heads out into the city.  An unpleasant experience with a couple of runaway teens and their drug dealing benefactor quickly convinces Hank he needs to find another place to begin his search.  He heads toward Concord, Massachusetts, and the home of Thoreau.

Once in Concord, Hank is disappointed in the commercialism of Thoreau's Walden Pond, but hopes the wise words of the American philosopher will guide him to the answers he is seeking.  A man named Thomas and a girl named Hailey provide the support Hank needs as the details of his past begin to surface.  What follows is the painful realization that his actions have caused suffering for those closest to him, and now he must decide how to face the past and plan for the future.

Author Cal Armistead combines thought-provoking quotes from Thoreau's Walden with the mystery of Hank's past to hook readers and keep them on the edge of their seats to the very end.  Although, it is obvious that Hank's amnesia is hiding some terrible tragedy, Armistead keeps readers guessing as to the specifics and then wondering what decisions Hank will ultimately make to pull together the crumbling pieces of his life.  After reading BEING HENRY DAVID, I can't wait to see what this author offers her readers next.

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