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The story is filled with so a big giant web-of-lies and I had trouble remembering what Hank told to who. I was so impressed by how the author held this part of the story together. I don't know how she wrote such a long book and managed to not get anything mixed up herself. I found this book very familiar to Dead to You by Lisa McMann in that the mystery of finding out who the main character was in his past life - really grabbed me and made me want to keep reading.

There is so much that maybe Hank could know about if he'd just let himself remember but it's too hard for him to think about and nearly falls apart many times when he does. Several times he has breakdowns and it was just I can't imagine being in Hank's situation. It's no wonder he finds comfort in Henry David Thoreau, the only thing he has left of his former life.

One of the best things about this book is finding out about such a classic author from a character like this, and in a story like this. Not only about his life, but so many of the words from his books, and the little things that maybe not everybody knows about. I would have liked to see a little more happening with "Hank's" family at the end of the story. Everything came together a little bit too quickly for me there, but overall a definite recommendation from me.

If you like stories about runaways, amnesia, and classics, then you should pick up this book! Dec 02, Carmen rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Teenagers. Shelves: ya , traditionally-published , fiction , she-says. This was a good book.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

However, there is a big age difference. He doesn't have amnesia and he lands in a new town, falls for the woman who rescues him a police officer and stuns the town with his new and bold ideas. Danny in Being He This was a good book. Danny in Being Henry David is running away from something His memory is being violently guarded by a black beast. He doesn't know his name, where he comes from, who his family is, or anything.

He also starts over in a new town, joining a Battle of the Bands and dating a local girl. He's also homeless. He tries sleeping in the woods, sleeping in the library, etc. I like that Danny has a close relationship with nature. He uses nature to clear his head and think about things.

You know Girl who is shy about singing onstage even though she is amazing because she had a bad past experience. Danny treats his girl right, and I like that. He's respectful and caring and listens to her even though he's got tons of problems of his own. He stands up for her, tries to protect her, and always has her back. He's not pushy and let's her make her own decisions. I liked the way this book came together. Danny piecing together pieces of his past. Danny learning about the dirty, desperate world of the homeless.

Danny struggling to remember who he really is. Everything comes together nicely in the end. It is a happy ending, but not one that's too sappy. Apr 18, Rachel Sharpe rated it it was ok Shelves: romance , ya , real-life , drama. Summary: A boy wakes up at Penn Station without his memory.

His only clue is a copy of Walden, which a crazy man just tried to eat. Along the way, he meets the runaway twins caught up with a drug lord, a former convict turned reference librarian and Thoreau enthusiast, and a diabetic girl with a beautiful voice turned love interest. A guy with no memory gets a girlfriend Summary: A boy wakes up at Penn Station without his memory. A guy with no memory gets a girlfriend before he even knows his own name. Will he ever face the past? Armistead never gave me that chance. She focused so much on adrenaline-packed scenes knife fights, drug dealers, near-death-situations that I never got to discover Henry as a fully fleshed out character.

Not to mention, after reading a lot of romance-y books, I was kind of excited for a dark and gritty tale about lost memories and the past. Unfortunately, what follows is a high school love triangle, complete with a Battle of the Bands and the boy next door. I do have to give Armistead some credit, though. It promised me a gripping tale of reclaiming lost memories, but all I got was a diluted romance with some far-fetched action.

Side Note: Why did the publisher categorize this as a children's book on Netgalley? It's not even close. Thanks to Netgalley for the copy. Mar 01, Heather K dentist in my spare time rated it it was ok Shelves: net-galley , blah , young-adult , m-f , read-to-review-arc , amnesia-memory-loss. I'm sorry to say that this book didn't work for me. It didn't start out that way, actually. I thought the concept of this book was really interesting. A guy wakes up in Penn Station with no memory of any time before that moment, and his only possession is a worn "Walden".

From author's blurb and from this promising beginning, I was hoping for a gritty surviv I'm sorry to say that this book didn't work for me. From author's blurb and from this promising beginning, I was hoping for a gritty survival book with pieces of his traumatic former life artfully revealed at pivotal moments. I was ready with my big girl pants to read about some heartbreaking young adult drama, and I was dying to learn what kinds of secrets the main character's mysterious past held. Unfortunately, I put on my big girl pants for nothing. It didn't take long for the plot to take a turn to the ridiculous.

I just have to say one phrase to show how far this book veered from my original expectations. Battle of the bands. I felt very led astray by this book. Maybe some readers will enjoy the fluff but didn't dig it. Feb 25, Magdalena Deniz rated it it was ok Shelves: lost-interest. View all 4 comments. Jan 27, Mersini rated it really liked it Shelves: young-adult , netgalley.

It follows Hank, a teenager who wakes up at Penn Station, New York, without the first idea of how he got there, who he is, or where he is supposed to be going. He makes friends, escapes the clutches of a drug dealer, and ends up in Concord, Massachusetts because his only possession is a battered copy of Thoreau's Walden; here he seems to get some semblance of a life together.

This is a book, not only about finding yourself, but about starting afresh. In losing his memory, Hank is given the opportunity to reinvent himself. Of course, as always seems to happen in fiction, his memories return, and with them his original identity of Danny Henderson, but this time it's layered over Hank, over the things that happened to him as Hank, and there's the impression that while he is one, he is also truly the other. What is nice is that Hank doesn't seem to be the type of kid who normally appears in teen fiction - the nerdy, misfit type. Though at first he doesn't know who he is, we find as the novel proceeds that he is a track runner, good looking, well built, a guitar player, and has an almost photographic memory and an obsession with Henry David Thoreau.

Armistead has done a great thing in shattering a stereotype; Hank is neither jock, nor nerd and is fine with being neither. It's an important thing to have an a book aimed at young adults. Perhaps the idea is difficult to believe at first, in all its ludicrousness, but as the novel proceeds you're drawn into the world of Hank trying to find out who he is while gathering something of a normal life around himself.

You want to know what happened to him as much as he does. Unfortunately, the concept is not the only ludicrous thing about the novel. Hank also sees visions of Thoreau himself, the writer often giving him advice.

It's a good book, though it quotes Thoreau sometimes unnecessarily, but the appearance of the man, even though he is clearly a symbol of how close Hank is coming to connecting with the life he can't remember, adds a supernatural element to the novel that detracts from the overall effectiveness. The only other thing I can say is that an epilogue tying all the loose ends together would have been nice.

Being Henry David the Movie Trailer

It was frustrating to get to the end and find that Hank had become Danny, but didn't want to leave Hank behind, and then not be told how he was going to be able to hold both lives together as one. As a reader, we don't care as much about his former life because we don't have an emotional connection to it - but Hank's life, the people in it, we want to know what comes of them, where they go, who he keeps in touch with, whether they live good, happy lives or not. It's a great book but if it needs an epilogue; it would infinitely improve the ending.

I probably won't read this book again, but is has definitely sparked an interest in Thoreau that I will have to follow through. Oct 04, Dayla rated it it was amazing Shelves: contemporary , beautiful-writing , good-character-development , favourites , netgalley , awesome-ya , coming-of-age , fucked-up , mystery , surprising. Review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Cal Armistead's Being Henry David is a young adult contemporary novel that examines the effects of grief and the fear that guilt creates within us.

I've never read anything by Henry David Thoreau, so reading the few snippets of his novel, Walden , was an interesting and Review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Cal Armistead's Being Henry David is a young adult contemporary novel that examines the effects of grief and the fear that guilt creates within us.

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I've never read anything by Henry David Thoreau, so reading the few snippets of his novel, Walden , was an interesting and unfamiliar ride. Armistead introduces Thoreau's book into the mix immediately and uses Walden as a guiding light for both the reader and Hank until the conclusion. I can't help but think that Walden , from the quotes given in the novel, was the perfect choice for Hank's story. Thoreau's ghost forces Hank to live, explore, and see what he has lost without rushing him. He adds a depth to the story that any other amnesia novel may lack.

What I absolutely loved about Being Henry David was how focused the storyline was. Sure, Hank encounters friendship, danger, romance, and even unconventional familial attachments, but Armistead stays true to the story by having it centered around Hank. Like any good novel, Hank learns from his experiences and grows as a misguided character, but at the end of the day, the story is about Hank--not about the girl s he meets, the dangers of homelessness, or the friendships he bonds.

Hank is running from something in his past and Armistead makes it impossible for you to forget his goals, even if Hank himself occasionally forgets--or tries to. It leaves questions, of course, but in a way, we're left just like Hank: with no certainty of what awaits us in the future. Poignant and beautifully written, Being Henry David is a rare young adult novel that questions the power of the mind, the treacherous addiction we at times harbor for guilt, and the dangers we encounter when we try to escape our familiar worlds. I recommend Being Henry David to readers of young adult contemporary fiction, lovers of story lines full of character growth, and of course, fans of Henry David Thoreau.

View all 3 comments. It's refreshing to read a book from a male point of view. Henry's story is both heartbreaking and lifting at the same time. At times, I cried and didn't know if I was happy or sad for him. Let me set the scene. A ish year old boy wakes up to someone asking him if he's going to eat that. The boy has no idea who he is, where is, or how he got there. The man asking him if he's going to eat that steals his book and runs off with it, sits down, and begins tearing the pages out to eat them.

The boy is horrified and mad and draws the attention of a policeman, who takes the book back and gives it to the boy. The boy goes to the restroom to see what he looks like, thinking maybe that will trigger some sort of memory. Jack's story is also heartbreaking. He's a teenage runaway and decides Henry David is Hank, so that's the name he uses for the rest of the book mostly, anyway.

I won't tell any more of the plot, because it's much better if you don't see what's coming. It's not all predictable, though some of it is. I will tell you to be on the lookout for a tattooed historian librarian because he totally makes the book. Partly because I'm a librarian and I wish my story was as cool as Thomas'. I like the angle Armistead took for some of Hank's memories to resurface. The guitar playing was nice and a good bonding instrument har de har har for him and Thomas and some of the other characters.


  • Hänschen klein (German Edition).
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I won't lie, there were some moments I had to walk away from the book because I was crying so hard, I couldn't read. When I say it is heartbreaking, I mean I could feel my heart hurt. It takes an amazing writer to give you that kind of feeling and then be able to lift you up like Armistead has done. I will recommend this book to students who are going through a rough patch, who enjoy romance novels even thought there's not a lot of romance, it is a book about relationships , and who enjoy sappy books.

Jun 06, Jenny - Book Sojourner rated it really liked it Shelves: e-arc , read-in The story we embark upon starts with "Hank" awaking at Penn Station with no memory of who he is and only the clothes he's wearing and a copy of Walden by his side. But he has this intuition that something is wrong and he's not ready to turn himself into the police as a missing person, which would obviously be the fastest way for him to figure out who he is. Instead he names himself Henry David, gets nicknamed as "Hank" by one of the interesting characters he meets, and starts this journey of dis The story we embark upon starts with "Hank" awaking at Penn Station with no memory of who he is and only the clothes he's wearing and a copy of Walden by his side.

Instead he names himself Henry David, gets nicknamed as "Hank" by one of the interesting characters he meets, and starts this journey of discovery, meeting some good and bad characters along the way. This journey also interweaves Thoreau's words of insight from Walden. Not being well-versed in all things Henry David Thoreau, I wasn't sure how well I would do with this book. I thought the way the author intermixed Walden was very creative and used in a very pertinent manner considering the circumstances that Hank faced, and really added a whole extra layer to the story that I really enjoyed.

Despite never having read Walden myself, I never felt lost or disconnected from the story. I also really enjoyed the "mystery" aspect of this story. I felt like I was right there with Hank trying to figure out who he was and why his memories were being blocked. I didn't expect this book to grip me the way it did, but I really wanted to know how things turned out for Hank and what really happened to him.

I also loved how he had to grow in his character, beyond just finding out about himself, but who he wanted to be. He befriended others who helped him, and who he helped. The intermixing with secondary characters was well done, though I would have even liked more depth to them. I had a particular soft spot for Thomas. Bottomline: This book went above my expectations and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed not only the writing style and the characters, but the storytelling itself.

This is a wonderful journey of self-discovery, seeking the truth, finding forgiveness, and embracing the future, whatever it may hold. The ending was touching, heartfelt, and realistic. A great debut by Cal Armistead. Feb 21, Sheri Tangled Up In Books rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , reviewed , reads , netgalley , young-adult , standalone.

Originally posted on my blog!! I almost don't even know where to begin.. I was hooked before I finished reading page one and couldn't put it down until I got to the end. I had about 15 pages or so left and I was getting so tired but, stubborn me, couldn't stop and sleep that close to the finish line! There were some humorous moments that made me, literally, laugh out loud. There were also a couple of parts that completely pul Originally posted on my blog!!

There were also a couple of parts that completely pull at your heart and made me cry. Actual sniffling, blurry vision, tears. Not to mention all of the anxiety filled moments as Hank starts to unlock memories and the guilt he struggles with from it. The absolute war he has going on within himself. Things he goes through when he starts out in the streets. There's just so much emotion going on and you can't help but just Being able to bring all that out in me has placed this book in my top 10 favorite reads.

Being Henry David

I'd even go so far as saying it's going into my top 5. It's passion inspiring books like this that make me glad I'm a reader. Apr 14, Jennifer rated it really liked it Shelves: ya. A super YA book that is intelligent, relevant, and well-written except for an overuse of the word "random" that drove me up a wall!

The only clue to his identity is a copy of Thoreau's "Walden" that he is carrying. As threads of memory start to em A super YA book that is intelligent, relevant, and well-written except for an overuse of the word "random" that drove me up a wall! As threads of memory start to emerge, hinting at a traumatic event that has shut his brain down, "Hank" decides to follow HDT's advice and seize the day. He finds benevolent Thomas, who also happens to be the research librarian in Concord, and Hailey, the prototypical Metrowest athlete-scholar.

As he slowly regains his memory, he learns how to live a well-considered life, just as HDT did. Excellent--would like to add it to my curriculum. I enjoyed this book, and read it rather quickly to find out who Henry David was it really was a page turner. I don't want to give my review though, I want to give the review for my 11 year old daughter. Some of my friends know that it has been difficult to get my daughter interested in reading.


  1. Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.
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  4. She'll often pick up a book and read a chapter or two and declare it "boring. She had stayed up until 3 a. My daughter who hates reading stayed up all night following Henry David. Mar 03, Jolene Perry rated it it was amazing Shelves: cover-love , re-readable , quietya. Fantastic book. Great guy POV. Excellent characterization and I never knew what was going to happen next.

    LOVE the way this book wraps up - it's such a Jolene ending. Great read :-D. Oct 30, Colette Whitney rated it liked it. Call me crazy, but I definitely thought that Being Henry David was a fantasy sci-fi type of book.

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    I thought for sure that at some point he would realize that he was a time-traveler or an alien or, like, a robot. I liked that about this book. So naturally, he Call me crazy, but I definitely thought that Being Henry David was a fantasy sci-fi type of book. It occurred to me a couple pages in that, to me at least, many YA books are written with girls in mind. Being Henry David, on the other hand, seems like it was written with a boy in mind. Many scenes are stressful and scary and fast-paced and sometimes that can be hard to portray in a book. But Armistead wrote these scenes almost entirely out of short and blunt sentences.

    It kept me hooked, at least. There were just too many. I think he could have cut out whole characters and the book would have been better. Maybe if he was writing a page book it would have worked out, but pages is limiting. There were so many that I felt like he was loosely tying them up at the end of the story, rather than double-knotting them, secure and tight.

    Hopefully, you understand. All in all though, the parts of the book that I liked, I loved. Feb 28, Aa'Ishah rated it liked it Shelves: arc-or-galley , contemporary-fiction , e-arc , reviewed. He spends his first night after waking up on the streets with Jack and Nessa, two runaways, but after some trouble he escapes to Concord, where Thoreau and some of his contemporaries are much revered. Gradually he pieces back his memory, but with this comes guilt, grief and pain, and H 'Hank' wakes up at Penn Station in New York with no memory of how he got there, why he's there or who he is.

    Gradually he pieces back his memory, but with this comes guilt, grief and pain, and Hank needs to figure out how he's going to move on. I think the first thing that caught my eye about this, and one of the things that I really liked, was that this is from a male perspective. I read so many books where the protag is female, so this was a nice change. For some reason I find it appealing to read from a guy's POV, at least if it's done well, and Armistead has managed to do that here.

    Having said that, though, Hank isn't a particularly memorable character. Right now I'm struggling to think of anything that distinguishes him from the sea of YA protagonists that are out there. I might attribute it to my awful memory, but just before this I wrote a review for a book I read even before Being Henry David , and I was able to recall the heroine just fine - which means at least some of the problem lies with Hank. I thought characters like Thomas had much more personality. The other thing that interested me slightly was using Walden and Thoreau as part of the basis for this book.

    Don't worry if you haven't read it or come across Thoreau before, because it gets explained - really, Thoreau pretty much permeates the novel. In a way I liked the idea of Hank following Walden , looking for answers to his past. I liked the quotes that were used and getting to know another classic author this way. But I felt it was also taken a little too far, because there seemed to be an element to it almost supernatural.

    Therefore I found myself a little confused when I remembered that this is a contemporary novel; the two points at which it seemed to slide just outside of contemporary felt out of place and bizarre. The writing itself was not bad, but something about it just fell flat for me. I wasn't able to connect with it as much as I would have liked, and this was something that stayed with me right from the beginning. Parts of it really did hold my interest, did have me reading in curiosity, especially when it came to Hank really trying to remember how he had ended up at Penn Station.

    But when I found out the reason, I couldn't say if it was really all that believable. Tragic, yes, but it seemed to me just a little much. The romantic element, too, was somewhat irritating. There's an emphasis on how Concord is a close and safe town, where people do, for the most part, trust each other.

    Yet you have to wonder at the naivety of a girl who would give a guy her number after meeting him only minutes before. Nor did I really appreciate the whole 'high school experience' side that worked its way in. The second half of the book, it seems, was not particularly impressive. Despite genuinely enjoying parts of Being Henry David , I am left, on the whole, feeling dissatisfied. Perhaps some of these things could have been overlooked, or at least tolerated, had the ending helped to compensate.

    Instead it was too open, and I am left with more questions than I am comfortable with. This was a decent read, but nowhere near as powerful as it could have been. This review is also posted on my blog. Feb 19, Debbie Narh rated it it was amazing Shelves: contemporary , funny , own , serious-topics , netgalley-edelweiss , debut-authors , love , oh-my-heart , reviewed , arc. I don't understand how anyone could not love this book. The romance doesn't overpower the message the book is trying to get across nor does it stray. I could also relate to Hank as if he were an actual person, not just a character in a fictional story.

    Being Henry David touched my heart in a way that not very many have. I will forever cherish this book. Of course the beginning is odd, it takes a few chapters for the story to really get its footing with an awkward writing style at first and a bo I don't understand how anyone could not love this book. Of course the beginning is odd, it takes a few chapters for the story to really get its footing with an awkward writing style at first and a boring, too simplistic setting. But all of this changes near the middle. I thought Being Henry David was going to be like other books where the main protagonist meets this person who is crazy and wild and follows them around like a lost puppy like in 34 Pieces of You or Then You Were Gone.

    But it's not like that. Not at all. Not really. There is just so much to love about this book. For one thing, I love the message it gives off because it really did make me tear up and feel a bunch of emotions. And it's true, the ones who care about you will always care, no matter what. Most of the characters are very easy to relate to and easy to love because as the story progresses, so do the characters and they become stronger and better people. I even loved to hate Magpie with his creepy eyes and accent. The relationship between Hank, Jack, and Nessa seems very realistic to me, another thing that really pulled at my heart.

    As a teen I know how it feels to be in a hopeless state and being forced to trust the ones you are uncertain of. As the story progresses, Hank's memories start to come back to him. I like this part a lot because the memories are pretty stretched out which helps the book stay less predictable and is a lot more enjoyable this way. The love interest doesn't go from 'I think she's cute' on one page to, 'oh man, I'm in love' the next which saved me from wanting to throw the book out the window yay!

    What an astonishing book this is! I would recommend this book to everyone. Because everyone has, during some time in their lifetime, wish they could live a different life, even just for a day. Being Henry David is just that, a teen wanting to start over only to realize that his life just might not suck. Dec 31, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: ya , arcs. Upon first impressions I got maybe 2 pages into the book and decided I wanted to move on to something else.

    A couple days later I came back, and I'm so glad I did. Despite a couple of small issues I had with the book, I thought it was great. I'm not going to go into a plot summary because I'm terrible at those and I don't want to give anything away, but overall this book had heart. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me fall in love with a tattooed, motorcycle riding librarian. I enjoy Upon first impressions I got maybe 2 pages into the book and decided I wanted to move on to something else.

    I enjoyed going through this journey with "Hank", from knowing nothing about who he is to finding out his identity and what he's running from which wasn't predictable by using small flashbacks and clues throughout the story. I also think that there were a couple of characters thrown in Sophie, Jack, Nessa that at the time seemed like they played a major role, but didn't actually follow through. No, seriously he needs to find himself, not for some moral high ground grandeur, but because he has no idea who he is. Turns out using amnesia as a catalyst isn't just an interesting plot line for daytime soap operas, but young adult mysteries as well.

    Riddled with an assortment of clues and flashbacks throughout the book, readers get a chance to journey with the protagonist step by step as he pieces together who he is and why he feels the need to conceal himself. I applaud Cal Armistead for integrating a classic such as Walden into her story and am thrilled that young readers will have the chance if they haven't already to become a fan of Thoreau. By incorporating some troublesome situations into the book, Armistead allows readers a glance at the distressing nature of missing and exploited teens, homelessness, and strangers--some cruel, some kind.

    With an assortment of secondary characters and various settings to help move the book along, there is little to no lags. There are parts of the book which are poignant, such as Armistead comparing a memory to a beast, but those lovely allegories may be overshadowed by the protagonist's need to comment on a smoking hot girl he may have amnesia, but he's not blind. The characters were well-developed; however, if you desire closure for every character you may be disappointed.