Being Henry David

Being Henry David

Waking up in Penn Station alone, no memories. None. Looking in washroom mirror, he sees a teenage guy with black hair, gray eyes, a big lump on his head. He has ten bucks in his front pocket and a copy of Walden – that’s it. He’ll be Henry David, after its author, until he can remember his own name or past or why he can’t remember…

Another teen rescues him from a homeless guy who wants to eat the book, nicknames him Hank because Henry David is too long, takes him to a hidden place to sleep, and gets him involved with some drug dealers who need more runners. After a knife fight, running seems like an excellent idea, so Jack splits the drug money and Hank gets on the train for Concord, looking for answers at Walden Pond, the only glimmer of memory he’s got.

Thoreau’s cabin site is easy to find, says Hailey, the girl he meets at the station. But Hank can’t understand why there is no cabin at the cabin site, just four rock cornerstones and a slab… cold sleeping tonight, and dreams where Thoreau speaks to him.

Is Thoreau there in the flesh in the morning? No, it’s Thomas, who does historical interpretations at Walden Pond, is the town reference librarian, heavily tattooed and riding a Harley. He shares breakfast with Hank, shares an appreciation for Thoreau’s vision of a simpler life, but doesn’t pry into Hank’s affairs.

Waking up in Penn Station alone, no memories. None. Looking in washroom mirror, he sees a teenage guy with black hair, gray eyes, a big lump on his head. He has ten bucks in his front pocket and a copy of Walden – that’s it. He’ll be Henry David, after its author, until he can remember his own name or past or why he can’t remember…

Another teen rescues him from a homeless guy who wants to eat the book, nicknames him Hank because Henry David is too long, takes him to a hidden place to sleep, and gets him involved with some drug dealers who need more runners. After a knife fight, running seems like an excellent idea, so Jack splits the drug money and Hank gets on the train for Concord, looking for answers at Walden Pond, the only glimmer of memory he’s got.

Thoreau’s cabin site is easy to find, says Hailey, the girl he meets at the station. But Hank can’t understand why there is no cabin at the cabin site, just four rock cornerstones and a slab… cold sleeping tonight, and dreams where Thoreau speaks to him.

Is Thoreau there in the flesh in the morning? No, it’s Thomas, who does historical interpretations at Walden Pond, is the town reference librarian, heavily tattooed and riding a Harley. He shares breakfast with Hank, shares an appreciation for Thoreau’s vision of a simpler life, but doesn’t pry into Hank’s affairs.

In Concord, Hank scopes out Hailey’s high school as a place to stay over the weekend, trying to avoid the blackness that erupts when he probes his memories. Visiting the town library to read more about Thoreau, Hank passes out as the infected knife wound clobbers his system and Thomas takes him home.

Hank’s fingers remember how to play the guitar – can he help Hailey in the Battle of the Bands?
Thomas suggests checking the missing teens database - can he find himself?
The blackness holding back his memories wavers – can he live with what he remembers?

Whether runaways or kidnapped, lost, strayed or stolen, so many stories of teens gone from home have unhappy endings – read Being Henry David to see if Hank’s story is one of them.

Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA – blogging young adult books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.com

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