Contemporary Young Adult novel
Stand alone title
There was something about Being Henry David that appealed to me when I first learned of the book a few months ago. Before I started reading it, I crossed my fingers and hoped it lived up to my expectations.
When I first started reading Being Henry David, my stomach lurched. It took me a few pages to adjust to the authors writing style. Her sentence structure mirrors Hanks disjointed thoughts, but once I did, I found her writing to be very lyrical and consistent.
She has a knack for using words to paint a very vivid picture. Although I’ve never visited Walden’s Pond, her descriptions transported me there. There was even a few points in the book where I forgot I was reading and was transported directly into Hank’s world.
The book is told completely from the viewpoint of the main character, a young man name “Hank” It starts when he wakes up in the middle of Penn Station and realizes he has no idea who he is. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t call up any memories. The only clues he has is a copy of Walden.
It doesn’t take very long for Hank’s situation to go from really bad, to horrible, to the downright terrifying. Desperate to escape, he jumps on a train and heads to Walden’s Pond, hoping to find some answers there.
The change in location doesn’t magically restore Hank’s memory, but it does put him in a position to connect with some pretty interesting people, including Thoreau expert, and in my opinion the best character in the book, Thomas. With Thomas’s help, Hank slowly starts searching for clues to his identity and tries to figure out where he stood.
The author did an excellent job of maintaining the forward momentum of the plot. Although there are some points where it becomes a bit predictable, it never drags which is what I really care about.
All of the characters are well developed and very enjoyable. Best of all, each one was quite unique. I don’t think there was a single character in the entire novel who I would consider to be of cookie cutter variety. Each one had quirks and issues, and best of all, they played an important role in the novel.
My biggest complaint with the book is that when it ended, while Hank’s story reached a nice ending point, I still wanted to know what had happened to a few of the other characters. Oh well, maybe when the author releases the next book, it will answer all my questions.
I think Being Henry David bears a strong resemblance to what might happen if Sarah Dessen and S.E. Hinton joined force and co-authored a book.
I received Being Henry David via NetGalley.