Published on March 1, 2013 by Albert Whitman Teen
Seventeen-year-old "Hank" has found himself at Penn Station in New York City with no memory of anything --who he is, where he came from, why he's running away. His only possession is a worn copy of Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. And so he becomes Henry David-or "Hank" and takes first to the streets, and then to the only destination he can think of--Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Cal Armistead's remarkable debut novel is about a teen in search of himself. Hank begins to piece together recollections from his past. The only way Hank can discover his present is to face up to the realities of his grievous memories. He must come to terms with the tragedy of his past, to stop running, and to find his way home
*DISCLOSURE: Free review copies were provided to us by the publisher // author*
If you've ever had that one person you can always confide in, that one place you can go to clear your head of all the hectic thoughts flying around your mind or even that one action you can perform that makes everything seem ... not worth all the hassle; then you're like Henry David - or in this case, Hank. Being Henry David was about a teenage guy named Hank. One day, Hank wakes up in Penn Station around midnight with little to no memory of who he is, where he is, or how he got there; the only thing he's able to truly claim as his is a copy of Walden by Henry David. Throughout the novel, Hank struggles with his identity, as well as, memories and feelings that arise pertaining to his past. These feelings and memories lead him closer to who he used to be. But when you can't look back, or look left or right for help, the only way to move, is forward. And who better to help him on his journey then Henry David?
I loved the frustration and eagerness that Armistead was able to portray in Hank's character. He was so close to the truth, yet so far. Each time he conjured up something from his past, he'd evidently hit this brick wall. The fact that his frustration was able to be felt by me, was proof of the amazing job Armistead did in developing Hank. Although Being Henry David was a contemporary novel, I found it oddly thrilling. In a way, Hank lives his life on the edge! Normal people start off their day where they left off yesterday, but for Hank, it was a clean slate every day. Not knowing where he was going, and who he'd be going with was an aspect that I grew to love about Being Henry David. What I loved about Armistead's writing was the perspective in which the reader (ME) is given. Hank was cautious, yet confident, lonely, but strong. As he builds new relationships, and establishes trust, Hank's thoughts are shown to be hilariously analytic and a bit judgmental.
I didn't dislike this aspect of the plot, but I wasn't sure what to think of the fact that Hank was having conversations with the dead author of Walden, Henry David.
Being Henry David was a though-provoking, contemporary YA novel that will thrust you into the life of Hank, a far-from-average teenage guy, working a little harder to work toward remembering who he is. This tale of rediscovery sprinkled with a whole lot of spontaneity will make readers question what it really means to live.
I have a very special surprise for you guys! Courtesy of Albert Whitman Teen and the author, Cal Armistead (author links listed above.) Enter below for a chance to win a new print copy of Being Henry David. (US/Canada Only please!) a Rafflecopter giveaway