Sunday, May 5, 2013

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

He wakes up on the floor of a train station with no memory of who he is...with only a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau at his side. It is a rude awakening to open your eyes to a strange place and be confronted by a homeless man who wants your only possession.

The young man adopts the name Hank out of necessity (and a connection he feels to Mr. Thoreau) and meets up with two other lost youth, Jack and Nessa. The meeting quickly leads to trouble with the law and causes Hank to escape the city, reluctantly leaving his two new companions behind. The only place he can think to go is Walden Pond, the very place that Thoreau wrote about. It is the only lead Hank has for discovering his true identity, so he heads off to Concord, Massachusetts.

Hank explores the town hoping to remember something. With no memories returning, Hank falls into an almost normal routine lying to protect his real story. He befriends a librarian and Thoreau expert who offers to help him. Hank also meets some other teens when he pays a visit to the high school. Hailey is one of the first people he meets, and he is instantly attracted to her.

Hank knows the bad things from the city could catch up with him - the police or the bad people he crossed could show up any minute. He also feels guilt about a sister he starts to remember. He's not sure why, but he feels he needs to save her. There are few moments in his current life when he can totally relax.

Hank needs to discover his true identity, but I almost hoped he could keep his life in Concord, too. It is a story of tension and mystery. Who is Hank? How did he end up in a New York train station. It is the search for these answers and much more that kept me reading and riveted to the last page.

For more info about this book, check out the Evergreen Library catalog and the author's site.


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