Being Henry David by Cal Armistead is a remarkable tale, to say the least! This coming-of-age novel asks the difficult question most of us have trouble answering: Who am I?
“Hank” is a teenage boy that wakes up at Penn Station with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. He has absolutely no memories from his past—his mind a completely blank slate. Hanks only possessions are the clothes he is wearing, a crumpled up ten dollar bill in his pocket, and a beat up copy of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.
“Absolutely nothing in my life is familiar, and it’s like standing on the edge of a cliff every damn minute, rocks crumbling under my feet.”
With the worn out paperback as his only lead, Hank heads out for the most sensible destination, Walden Pond in Concord Massachusetts. Hopefully the serenity and simplicity of “going back to the basics” will help jog his memory of who he is and where he comes from. But the question is, does he really want to know about his past demons?
“There’s a black beast inside me that doesn’t want me to know stuff. It guards my memory, clawing at my insides and going for my throat if I get too close.”
Finding friends and a sense of safety in the most unlikely places and faces, Henry must learn to face his past and unlock his memories without shattering himself in the process.
All I can say about Being Henry David is “wow”. I literally could not put this book down. Though provoking and insightful, this novel challenges you to look inside yourself and challenge yourself to face your own demons.
Five out of five stars! I look forward to any future novels from Cal Armistead