Formerly Illiterate Lobsterman Writes Book At 98
James Arruda Henry kept the secret into his 90’s that he couldn’t read or write. Now he’s a published author.
He couldn’t even read restaurant menus; he’d wait for someone else to place an order and get the same food. Sometimes he’d go hungry rather than ask for help. Most of his family was none the wiser.
Now he’s 98, and his self-published collection of autobiographical essays is being read in elementary schools. “In A Fisherman’s Language” details his barefoot beginnings in Portugal, life in a tenement in Rhode Island, boxing as a young man and his adventures at sea.
“I didn’t think it was going to go too far,” Henry told The Associated Press in a phone interview this week from his home in the Connecticut seaport of Mystic. “I couldn’t read or nothing. I tell you, it makes me a very, very happy man to have people call me and write me letters and stuff like that.”