Being Henry David by Cal Armistead



Title: Being Henry David

Author: Cal Armistead

Series Status: Standalone

# of pages: 304

My rating: 2.5/5 stars



From Goodreads

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.


I honestly don’t know where to start with this book because I thought it was going to be a deep heart felt story about someone not being able to live up to or face certain choices in their life but instead the story felt more desultory.

Starting with my main issues in the story which were that this story had no direction. I cannot decide if this was on purpose since Hank is unable to remember anything and is essentially wandering through life at the moment trying to figure it out but there was no real plot.

Another issue that I had with the story was how one dimensional Hank felt for me. I understand that when he has no memory himself that he would not have much development but I thought he would grow throughout the story and develop as a new person (especially since he’s emulating Thoreau) but instead he almost always followed someone else’s decisions and just “tagged along” throughout most of the story.

With nothing happening in this story to gain momentum and create a connection I felt like the story fell really short and the moments where things where happening there was really no development to show this.

Overall this book wasn’t anything I’d pick up again or recommend because it didn’t have anything going on.

2.5 stars

3 thoughts on “Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

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