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Monday, February 10, 2014

First Friday Debut Novel - Being Henry David

by Cal Armistead

This past Friday, February 7, Marcy and I posted our answers to Cal’s debut novel, Being Henry David. Today, you get to read Cal’s favorite's. Reading Cal’s answers transported us back into the book.

Thanks for giving our readers a terrific insight into your characters, Cal. We hope they enjoy the story as much as we did.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

 I don’t think this is a spoiler…but I’m going to choose this line from near the end of the book, when Hank has endured a life-changing ordeal and feels a stirring of hope at last:

Nobody is here but me to see the world cracked open, to look out on the world and see hundreds of miles into the distance, to smell the rain-cleansed air. Somehow, I feel clean too.

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?   

I like this section, because it reflects the moment when Hank has remembered the trauma that robbed him of his memory.  This is a turning point, because he will now have to face the painful truth. Yet there is still some comfort in nature, at Walden Pond.

No more, says the beast now at Walden Pond, the beast who has become my friend in spite of myself. Enough, he says.

Red turns to black, total eclipse, and I collapse behind a lichen-covered rock, far from home in the silent forest of Concord, Massachusetts.

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Like most people, I have a great fondness for Thomas, the tattooed librarian/historian/ punk rocker. But I also have a soft spot for Nessa, the 15-year-old runaway who has seen too much, but maintains an unshakable inner strength. 

Nessa looks up at me with this shine to her eyes like she thinks I’m amazing, and I won’t lie, it makes me feel really good. Dressed in a clean white shirt and jeans, without all that dark makeup she used to wear, she doesn’t look anything like a street kid anymore. Just another cute girl at Thoreau High. I don’t know how she did it, but Nessa has been able to hold onto a sweetness and innocence in spite of everything that’s happened to her.

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

I like this paragraph when Hank first encounters Walden Pond, because it reminds me of the many times I’ve walked this same route myself, taking note of the wonderful sounds, scents, sights, and peaceful surroundings of Walden.

 The sounds of the highway fade as I take the road into the woods. The air is cool and fresh and smells like leaves and dirt and the pine needles crunching under my feet. I continue down the road and sense the presence of the pond even before I see it—an open space off to the right, a break in the thickness of the woods. Then, there it is, a smooth gray surface like chrome reflecting the sky.

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

I like this section (it’s more than one line, but all part of the same conversation!) because it offers insight into what makes Thomas tick:

“For a kid who worships Thoreau enough to stay all night at his cabin site, you have a lot to learn,” Thomas says, handing me a spare helmet from the back of his bike. “Thoreau was a rabble-rouser in this time.  A free spirit. A rebel.”  He pulls on his own helmet, straddles his Harley, and flashes straight white teeth. “Why do you think I like him so much?”

We would like to congratulate Cal Armistead on her debut young adult novel, BEING HENRY DAVID, which was named one of the Top Books for Teens 2013 by Kirkus Reviews, Buzzfeed, and Mashable!

To read more about Cal’s debut novel, Being Henry David, go to:

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