Local 2011 Authors Trail kicks off with Donna McHenry

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Region - posted Tue., Jul. 12, 2011
Donna McHenry kicks off the Connecticut Authors Trail for the Windham area. Photos contributed. - Contributed Photo

Kicking off the Connecticut Authors Trail for the Willimantic/Mansfield area was an appearance by Donna McHenry on July 14 at the Willimantic Public Library.

McHenry said that she was overweight all her life, until she made the difficult decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery in 2009. She started losing weight at an alarming rate. “I was losing 5 pounds a day,” she said, in a January 2011 interview with the ReminderNews. “It was really scary. I didn’t realize how much this would affect me and my life.”

McHenry began a journal to help cope with her experiences. “And then I started to feel like people who are going to have this surgery need to know what you actually go through,” she said. So her private journal became a public chronicle, published as a 172-page book entitled, “A Long Awaited Journey: My Story About Weight Loss Surgery.”

With childhood obesity at an all-time high, McHenry’s hope was that the book would serve to “get adults to realize what they’re doing to their children,” she said. “There was so much teasing and scrutiny when I was a kid. I was picked on.” She also hopes that those who don’t have a weight problem might read the book and gain a new awareness. “I think it would be kind of a wake-up call for those who don’t realize how obesity affects people’s lives,” said McHenry.

The Connecticut Authors Trail continues throughout the summer. There are events planned for a number of local libraries. The Booth and Dimock Memorial Library in Coventry will host Caragh M. O’Brien on July 28 at 6:30 p.m. O’Brien is the author of “Birthmarked,” a young adult novel, the first in a planned trilogy.

Mark Seth Lender will appear at the Scotland Public Library on Sept. 15 at 6:30 p.m. Lender is the author of “Salt Marsh Diary,” which chronicles the flora and fauna of the Connecticut coastal marsh.

In addition to McHenry, the Willimantic Public Library will host Robert Thorson on Aug. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Thorson is the author of  "Stone by Stone" (2002), "Voices of the New Republic" (2004)  and "Beyond Walden" (2009). Thorson will also appear at the Guilford Smith Memorial Library in South Windham on Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Also appearing in South Windham, on Aug. 11 at 6:30 p.m., is Christine Whitehead. “Tell Me When It Hurts” is Whitehead’s first novel, which tells the tale of a mother struggling to go on after her daughter’s murder.

For more information and a full listing of events for the 2011 Connecticut Authors Trail, go to the website sites.google.com/site/connecticutauthorstrail2011.

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