Synopsis: Henry is a book about an adolescent boy who lives in an older neighborhood across the street from a small rundown park in the city of Los Angeles, California. The park has a pond which is home to a goose named Henry, one of the most disgusting gnarled looking beasts who has probably ever walked the planet. When you saw Henry in the flesh, you really couldn’t tell if disgusting was the right word to fully describe his excruciating appearance or did something much more drastic such as down right scary more eloquently fit the bill. He truly was hideous. Henry has no friends because of his unfortunate appearance, everyone is either scared of him or repulsed by what they are seeing with their eyes. So, he is always alone. One day Henry wondered across the street into the boys yard, where the boy befriended him and they became best friends for the summer break between the 1st and 2nd grade. They played together every day and embarked on some wild adventures during those magical times of our adolescent youth we called summer break, which in reality were really only short quick blips in our childhood, but at that time seemed like infinite lifetimes.
The boy would hug him and carrying him around under his arm like a small puppy dog seemingly oblivious to the disgusting nature of Henry’s appearance, somewhat capturing that feeling of the time of innocence during our adolescence just before we learn to be mean and care so much how someone looks. The boy takes Henry, who has never been out of the park and probably never will, on the best trip of his life to the McDonald’s a mile or so up the road from his house where he introduces him to some french fries and an ice cream sundae for the first time. The boy starts back to school after summer break ends, still continuing to play with his best friend Henry from over the summer break each and every day after school, until finally his mother receives his first report card of the new year memorializing some very low grades due to the skipping of homework in-lieu of play time. The boy’s mother quickly puts an end to that deciding it best to relocate Henry in another park miles away as the solution to the boy’s poor grades from lack of homework completion. The new park is in a much better part of town and much larger featuring far more of the necessities and amenities; a virtual paradise by goose standards when compared to Henry’s old park.
For a long time Henry grapples with his intense feelings of grief from being abandoned by his best friend, until finally coming to terms with the reality his friend may have done what’s best for both parties even though it may not have seemed that way at the time and ultimately coming to the realization that forgiveness is his best option. Sometimes people do things that seem as though they don’t love someone, when in fact to the contrary, it’s really because of how much they do love someone. Henry lives out a much better full life in his new paradise never forgetting his best friend, and in the end eventually making it to the beautiful blue ocean, his life-long dream, despite his seemingly insurmountable disabilities. All the other geese who were normal in Henry’s eyes, seeming to get everything in life, never got to experience the gloriousness of real human friendship and love. On the other hand, Henry’s life, one could say, turned out to be far more extensive than theirs, rather than the hindered nothingness everyone expected it to be.
Release Date: 1st May 2021
Genres: Novella/ Short Story, Friendship, Death, Grief, Mental Health, Animals, Disability, Middle Grade, Family.
Thank you so much to author Amadeus Vultznick for the ebook to read and review.
Review: This book is so vivid and detailed. You are told the story by Henry a goose as he recounts his past and shares his best memories and some of his worst. He is a disabled and unusual looking goose and isn’t as bright and shiny as others in his family or in the pond, he is left out a lot and lonely. Until one day a boy takes him on and becomes an unexpected best friend.
I really loved the vividness of this story, it was so incredibly detailed literally nothing was missed at all and it was all through his eyes, his perspective and his opinions of things surrounding him, of the world as he saw it. It was a really beautiful story that you do sink into pretty quickly. I must admit I did struggle in places to figure out what it was he was describing, but generally everything was described really beautifully.
I really enjoyed reading this book though and seeing Henry’s adventure through his life from loneliness at the pond to adventures and being fed and loved constantly by this young boy, forming a lifelong friendship and always holding his memories close to him of their games.
This book got pretty deep the further you went into it and dealt with death, mental health and how heartbreak can effect you. But it also teaches how love and care can have the biggest impact on someone including animals. And that human and animal relationships can be so special and have a strong bond.
This was a really lovely story and Henry was such a fun, sweet goose who always just wanted to be loved. I couldn’t decipher though who this book was aimed at whilst reading, its beautiful and vividly detailed so certainly an older children’s read some of the wording choices were rather large and the story is an emotional one.