Being Henry David by Cal Armistead


Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Series?  No

Audience Age:  Older Teens

Rating (1-5):  4

The story in no more than five sentences:

17 year old Hank wakes up in Penn Station with no memories and no idea who he is.   The only thing in his possession is a copy of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.  After falling in with a couple of street kids on the run, Hank makes his way up to Concord, Massachusetts to view the sight where Henry David Thoreau lived in the woods.  Hank makes friends with  a local Thoreau researcher and begins falling for a girl named Hailey.  But as he begins to enjoy his life in Concord, he begins to remember, and must come to terms with, his troubled past.

The best part about the book is (in 1 sentence):  Armistead is adept at interweaving Thoreau’s philosophy into Hank’s troubled life and thereby making it meaningful to teen readers.  

The worst part of the book is (in 1 sentence):  The opening plot device, boy can’t remember anything, may seem too pat for some readers.   

1 interesting note about the author:  Cal Armistead lives in the Boston area, is a voice over actress, and semi professional singer.  Being Henry David is her first novel.  Find out more about her at