Being Henry David: Book summary and reviews of Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

Being Henry David

By Cal Armistead

Being Henry David
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2013,
    312 pages.
    Age range: Young Adult


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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Hank earns sympathy and respect from readers, but Armistead doesn't let him off easy. Rescue is not an option, but Thoreau's spare words, focusing on what truly matters, lighten the darkness. This compelling, suspenseful debut, a tough-love riff on guilt, forgiveness and redemption, asks hard questions to which there are no easy answers." - Kirkus

"Armistead can go over the top at times - her New York City is almost cartoonishly violent and one-dimensional - but Hank's personal tragedies are touching, as are his interactions with everyone from street kids Jack and Nessa to the more sedate citizens of Concord. His quests for answers and redemption should easily engage readers. Ages 13–up." - Publishers Weekly

"Armistead paints a poignant yet gritty tale, capturing the heart of people with a few crafted words. He establishes the various worlds within New York City, Maine, and Concord, Massachusetts, with a deftness that would not be expected from a debut novelist." - Blog Critics

"Being Henry David is an extremely good book with a unique situation on hand. Cal Armistead brings the best of her abilities to the table, well paper, to bring these characters alive." - Teen Ink, Editor's Choice Review

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Cal has been a writer since age 9, when she submitted her first book, The Poor Macaroni Named Joany to a publisher. Sadly, this literary gem did not make it to print. But Cal continued pursuing her lifelong passion, and wrote copiously for radio, newspapers and magazines (Cal has been published in The Chicago Tribune, Shape Magazine, Body & Soul Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Chicken Soup for Every Mom's Soul and others). Although it took years for Cal to try her hand again at fiction writing, her first young adult novel (Being Henry David) will be published by Albert Whitman & Co. on March 1, 2013. Cal holds an MFA in creative writing from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine, works at an independent book store, is a voice-over actress, sings semi-professionally, and lives in a Boston suburb with her amazing husband and a dog named Layla.

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