For those faced with a struggle, Captain James Arruda Henry"s story is nothing short of inspirational.
The 98-year-old retired lobsterman has become a first-time author, having written and published his autobiography after learning to read at the incredible age of 91. And his manuscript, entitled "In a Fisherman"s Language", even has Hollywood calling.
As ABC affiliate WTNH reports, Mr Henry, of Mystic, Connecticut, spent most of his life without even his closest family members suspecting he was illiterate. Forced to quit school in the third grade to take odd jobs, he kept the secret close to his chest - only confiding in his late wife.
Mr Henry"s granddaughter, Marlisa McLaughlin, told the station how he used tricks, like waiting for others to order at restaurants first, or asking waiters how much he owed at restaurants, to avoid the issue.
A family dispute in his 90s, she said, sparked his initiative to reclaim his education. "He signed a document he could not read about where he was going to go live," Ms McLaughlin said, declining to offer further detail.
And then, after hearing about George Dawson, a son of slaves who learned to read at age 98 and went on to write a book of his own, entitled "Life Is So Good" at age 101 - Mr Henry took up reading.
"I said if he can do it, I"m gonna try," Mr Henry said. Starting with his name, he eventually moved on to the ABC"s and children"s books.“
He put them down for four years after the tragic loss of his wife. But eventually he went back to reading and with the help of his tutor, Mark Hogan, began to log his life.
As WTNH reports, he wrote about his family"s voyage from Portugal to the U.S., how he went on to captain a lobster boat and serve on the National Guard, his many journeys at sea and how he was unable to save another fisherman who had fallen overboard. He became a carpenter and a plumber, and even a professional boxer - and eventually built his own home in Stonington Borough.
His life stories have become so popular, in fact, nearly 800 copies were sold in the first two weeks of the book"s release last month. One thousand more have since been printed as requests for the book flood in from as far as Germany. And now even Hollywood producers have approached Mr Henry about optioning the rights to his life story for a big screen adaptation.
According to WTNH, the family also now has a book agent and a deal in the works to publish a second edition that would include a hardcover version. Ms McLaughlin said a textbook publisher has approached the family about featuring her grandfather"s story in one of its books - and Kindle and Amazon want to offer an e-version.
Meanwhile, the family says they are reconnecting and closer than ever as a result of Mr Henry"s late-life endeavour. "Everyone has a story," Ms McLaughlin said, adding of her grandfather"s: "It teaches that when you"re down and out, never give up."