Illiterate until the age of 96, 98 year-old man writes first book

Nadine Bells
Good News

A 98-year-old man from Connecticut just wrote his first book. More remarkable, he was illiterate until he was 96.

James Arruda Henry, a retired lobster fisherman, recently completed a 29-chapter, short story account of his life, titled "In a Fisherman's Language."

Henry's father made him quit school in the third grade so that he could work odd jobs. Throughout his long life, he worked as a captain, a boxer, a carpenter and a plumber, all the while covering up his illiteracy from family and friends.

It wasn't until he arrived at Academy Point, a seniors' home in Mystic, Connecticut, that his illiteracy became apparent.

"Inspired by a book written by a 98-year-old man who had also lived without literacy, James began quietly practicing his own signature at the dining room table and went on to hand write his first book. From his earliest recollections of his grandfather's farm in the Azores to a snippet of his daily life today, James shows how a life powered by commitment, hard work and determination can redefine a person at any age," states the book's official site.

Until then, he couldn't even sign his name. Today, "he's signing his books."

"It's almost impossible to believe the way I feel. I'm the happiest man in the world," he told CNN.

"I feel so good about doing this. I don't know what to do or what to say," the nonagenarian said at a recent book signing. "I feel like I was just born."