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Hanging on to My Dreams: Bouncing
Back from all Rejections
Arnold Henry
VBW Publishing 2011
ISBN: 9781602648128

—I wanted to rip apart the speakers that played the bugle sounds, especially during the
early morning hours. Waking up became the hardest part of my day. In fact, being in
America for the first time in my life became the most difficult experience I'd ever had. Each
day felt like it would never end.— Arnold Henry

I thought a good, solid story about new beginnings and overcoming adversity was the right fit for this month's review, being as the New Year has just begun. Happily enough, I recently finished just such a story: Hanging on to My Dreams: Bouncing Back from All Rejections, by Arnold Henry. The book covers Henry's experiences from his early school years to the celebration of his lifelong dream in the United States of America. That dream was to win a college basketball championship; Henry walked a very long, sometimes desperate and often lonely path to come within reach of his goal.
Fittingly organized into four sections—like the quarters of a basketball game—the book relates Henry's introduction to basketball in primary school, moves to the building of his reputation as a St. Lucian athlete and his first experiences in America, follows his initial successes while becoming St. Lucia's first NCAA Division 1 freshman basketball player and then ends off with his final attempt to secure the elusive, championship dream.
The story chronicles Henry's struggles to develop the motivation and skills that he believed would lead him to a brighter future. From early on, his focus was mainly on sports and academics as Henry realized that excelling in both of these areas would be important to provide him with the best possible chance at achieving the success he sought.
But this is not just a book about various levels of basketball and school. It is much more than that. Drawing on the journal entries that he began writing at a young age, we see many different topics reflected in this novel. First, we are introduced to the home and culture of a typical youngster growing up on the island of St. Lucia. Through the author's use of colloquial language and his descriptions of local lifestyles and customs, we are given a very vivid picture of what his everyday life was like. By Canadian standards, his upbringing lacked many advantages and material comforts that we enjoy and, even more troubling, he and his mother were subjected to domestic abuse in a time and society where such things were not addressed. Furthermore, it is a very compelling story of adjusting to change. In this case, the change was beginning a life in a new country. Not only did Henry have to adjust to a completely new environment and culture, but he also had to overcome instances of racism, cultural intolerance, institutional barriers and the misunderstanding or self-interest of authorities, to name just a few.
I highly recommend Henry's book not only as a very interesting and rewarding read in itself, but also to be promoted as an example of resilience and self-sacrifice that any Canadian—young or old—should use as motivation to improve themselves. Especially if you are a student or student-athlete, this story is a virtual necessity. Be advised: amendments to, or the total rethinking of your New Year's resolutions may result.
Date of Posting: 03 September 2013
Posted By: Derek Donais
Novelist, Strathmore,Alberta Canda
Arnold, I must say that this book was very interesting. As a little girl I once loved to read it was on top of my hobby list. After becoming an adult my love for reading soon faded away but I must say after reading your book the zeal just came all over me again. I forgot how relaxing it was to pick up a book and just read away allowing the mind to imagine what was going on in front of my eyes and I must say your book did just that. This book is filled with his hardships of life one can face when it comes to relationships, friendships, family and sports. This inspires me that in whatever I go through, there is still going to be a great outcome in the end. I encourage you to not stop writing because you are helping someone out there to keep hanging on to their dreams. I am now sitting back and waiting for the movie :)
Date of Posting: 11 June 2012
Posted By: Gilretta Mathieu
I have followed Arnold's journey through writing this book and I must say it was not what I expected. Talent, yes, but the candid manner in which this autobiography was written blew me away. While reading through Hanging On To My Dreams, I felt like I was right there living through those years with him. I experienced every emotion possible within those pages.
Date of Posting: 11 June 2012
Posted By: Charmain Zephirin
Saint Lucian by birth, Saint Lucia
This is long overdue........Arnold I must say you inspire me to strive and to push myself when I think that there is no hope. Hanging onto my dreams was such an easy and relaxing read for me; this is why:

I have known Arnold for such a long time and never knew too much about him except for the fact that he went to Entrepot and he played basketball then later on got a scholarship. When I visited Florida for a Volleyball scholarship i saw Arnold and was so happy to see someone that I knew and who is excelling. Although we kept in touch, it was just off and on.

This book had me walking through my island as i read through the chapters. I swore I saw people's faces in reality and I could see people chasing after that ball on the summit when it went out of bounds. The feeling of knowing where one has been and where they are going just thrills me.

Arnold you are a strong young man. You were taken advantage of, you were lied to, you were set up, you had people who made it hard for you but your focus and determination pushed you to your limit.

I wish our young athletes in St. Lucia can read this book and see that its not that easy to get where you want to go if you don’t try and push and do the things that make you get there. There are scholarships out there but discipline, character, education and choices gives you the opportunity.

Arnold wanted it and will do what it takes to get there. Remember only one person can get you there and that's the most High, God. All those adversities that came your way were for a reason. You did wrong and you were punished sometimes but it was a lesson to learn from. I believe that you are going to Hang On to Your Dreams with the Rim of the Lord.

I look forward to reading more of your life and I pray that many others see something that someone else didn't see in you.

Keep standing strong for I know your dreams will soon become reality.
Date of Posting: 11 June 2012
Posted By: Indira Laurencin
St. Lucian born who is trying to reach for the stars with the talent and intelligence the Lord has bestowed upon me, Baltimore, Maryland
Arnold I read the book and loved it. So looking forward to the next one....seems like some interesting pieces remain to be told. You get a pat on the back from me for writing about your dreams....I will forever be a supporter and fan....

Hurry up and get the second book out there PLEASE!!!!
Date of Posting: 11 June 2012
Posted By: Beverley Compton-Bradshaw
You know how you just realize when someone has something special?
Because they believe in themselves when others don't?
When they persevere, despite many obstacles being thrown in the way?
When life sometimes seems like it is on a downward spiral, with no light at the end of the tunnel?

Been there, done that, and got several T-shirts!!!!!

I "met" Arnold on Facebook, and was very impressed by the fact that this young man was writing his "story" at a very young age. Also, the fact he is from St. Lucia, not that far away from where I live here in Barbados. I was deeply disappointed not to get a signed copy of Arnold's book, and had to make do with a downloaded copy on my Kindle.

I couldn't put it down. His story has so much in common with my own, but is so different. He is a true inspiration, not only to himself, but to anyone else out there who is trying to make their dreams come true. And dreams DO come true. Arnold's did, so did mine. Not an easy path, but we both achieved it.

Arnold, keep up the good work, looking forward to the next book - and this time I want a personally signed copy!
Date of Posting: 11 June 2012
Posted By: Angela Gray
Early retired, moved from UK to Barbados. Just loving life and living my dream, Barbados
Arnold, your book is a very inspirational book to many young people. I pray that many get a chance to read it especially our young men of St Lucia. It can help change their lives and definitely know that the path to a successful life is narrow and hard. But with God's guidance and hard work, it can be achieved. You are such a determined young man and I encourage you to continue to be that way. Keep the faith and watch you SOAR!
Date of Posting: 11 June 2012
Posted By: Cyrillia Harrigan
Great work Arnold. I thoroughly enjoyed your book from start to finish! Your piece of work is truly an inspiration that people across all generations can identify with!
Date of Posting: 11 June 2012
Posted By: Zaine Barnard
Arnold Henry is an amazing young man. Anyone who spends time with him, even if its for a day, you feel connected to him. With his warm heart he always tends to put other people’s feelings first no matter the situation.

Reading "Hanging On To My Dreams" by Mr. Henry have inspired me a lot. Young men/women can learn a lot from his experience. This book has made me put so much of my life into perspective. Now I want more than just having a dream; I want to hang on to it and overcome all rejections in my life like Mr. Henry did.

Its sad but he never gave up on his dreams. No matter the situation, he stood up for what he believed in. I thank God for his mom who was also his dad for standing by his side always and giving him the strength he needed to go on in life.

Sometimes things happen in our life we can't explain and we just got to learn how to deal with it effectively and positively. With Mr. Henry's dreams at the NCAA Division 1 being shattered, I'm always going to believe it was a setup with the coaches and some of the teammates to get him out of the game period. It wasn't all on the girl but such is life...some things we just can't control. My only thing is God sees and hears all, in the end we do pay for our wicked behaviours.

At this point I want to thank Mr. Arnold Henry on the success of his first book. I'm so looking forward to the movie and another great book from him. Always walk with your head high and never stop believing in God and yourself for he always sees his children through.

Take care and God bless.
Date of Posting: 11 June 2012
Posted By: Pearl Berance
Student at Ryerson University, studying Early Childhood Education, Toronto, Ontario
Hanging On To My Dreams has all the elements of a great classic story: page-turning plot, intriguing main character (Arnold!), vivid and varied settings, tragedy, comedy, and guys in shorts. Good work, Arnold.
Date of Posting: 11 June 2012
Posted By: Barb Howard
writer, editor, reader, Bragg Creek, AB

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Sunday the 19th - "Your limits are somewhere up there waiting for you to reach beyond infinity." ~Arnold Henry .