The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick

Friday, January 28, 2011

Goodreads Description:
I'm not proud.
I'm sixteen, and soon to be homeless. 

Weary of his life with his alcoholic, abusive father, sixteen-year-old Billy packs a few belongings and hits the road, hoping for something better than what he left behind. He finds a home in an abandoned freight train outside a small town, where he falls in love with rich, restless Caitlin and befriends a fellow train resident, "Old Bill," who slowly reveals a tragic past. When Billy is given a gift that changes everything, he learns not only to how forge his own path in life, but the real meaning of family.

My Review:

Favourite Quote: "I'd go off alone, because you can't trust those who want to break the rules and you certainly can't trust those who make the rules, so you do the only thing possible, you avoid the rules."

Wow, I loved The Simple Gift. It is beautiful, touching and potent.

First off, The Simple Gift is written in verse. There is something about verse novels that resonates with me. Maybe because as a teen I often wrote my diaries in verse. I find sometimes simple words can capture so much emotion and this book is the perfect example of that.

The storyline deals with some compelling issues: friendship, love, living on the street, grief and family. Despite the hard issues it deals with this book made me feel happy and hopeful. The characters Bill, Old Bill and Caitlin creep into your heart and stay there. Maybe that is because when you reading this book it is like you are sharing the characters feelings.

There really are no words to describe how this story made me feel but I can tell you this is one of those books that I will keep forever.

Since, I am stuck for words how to describe my thoughts and I also because I love the writing, here is a favourite passage of mine:-
(from pg 127)

It was like falling headlong
into the clear waters
of the Bendarat River
and opening my eyes
to the beautiful
phosphorescent bubbles of light
and trying to capture those bubbles
in the new world of quiet and calm
that carried me along, breathless,
and too late, or too early,I surfaced
and broke the gentle tide,
and I gasped and rolled
and wished Caitlin and I
could return to the hush
of that special world
and we could float
safe for a lifetime
and hoping never
to be found.

Overall, The Simple Gift is a powerful story that will linger in your thoughts long after you have read it.

Recommend for:  Fans of verse novels 

Overall Rating: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Romance: 4/5
Cover: 4/5

Note:  This is an Australian title that is available internationally through The Book Depository.

This week all reviews and posts have been about Aussie titles in celebration of Australia Day.   I hope you are enjoyed it so far!


Jess - The Tales Compendium said...

That blurb sounds amazing. I was thinking "I am so gonna read this" and then you tell me it's a verse novel. I have never warmed to novels in verse and I avoid them if I can. But it does sound so good...
I'm in a dilemma Nic and it's all your fault! ;)

Blueicegal ♥ said...

This sounds like such a wonderful read!

Jenny said...

This sounds like a really beautiful and emotional story, thanks so much for sharing Nic! I've never read a book in verse, so this seems like a great one to start with:) You always have such interesting books featured, I love coming here!

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

I really need to read more books like this. I love that I can always come to your site and find a book that I should read because it will stick with me...I don't read nearly enough powerful material like this. Fabulous review, Nic :)

Misha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Misha said...

This sounds like a powerful book! I have read 2 books in verse and want to try another one. The Simple Gift sounds like my kind of book . Thanks for the wonderful review, Nic!

Jenny N. said...

Don't see too many verse novels (I've only read two myself) so I'll be sure to remember this one.

Leanna Elle said...

This sounds good, and quite different to what I usually read. Thanks for the review!

Alix said...

Sounds amazing. I just read my first verse novel and was looking for more, so this was perfect timing - thanks :)

I always love hearing about Aussie titles, Happy Australian Day!

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

OMG! This could almost be Jimmy's story? What happened to him? :(

I haven't really tried to read any books that are told in verse. I don't know why they don't appeal to me as much. But this one sounds like it is worth trying.

I'm so glad I found your blog to learn more about Aussie titles. I swear, after reading Marchetta, I want to move over there! Thanks so much, Nic.

A Canadian Girl said...

This one sounds like a really poignant book. I don't read too many novels written in verse but I'll be adding this one to my wishlist.

nicole said...

i totally love verse novels. there's something that just clicks with me...and i feel it all so much more.

there's something simply beautiful about the verse style.

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Thanks for all the comments!

@ Jess - It really is a beautiful tale. I am pretty sure you would be able to get it at your local library.

@ Jenny & Melissa - Thanks. I love discovering not well known books and sharing.

@ Missie - I know. Where is Jimmy? Marchetta said she doesn't have his story. I think you would like this book. And if you move here you can come stay at my place :)

@ Nicole - Completely agree :)

Anonymous said...

this is the best book ever a must read

Morton said...

This sounds like a powerful book! I have read 2 books in verse and want to try another one. The Simple Gift sounds like my kind of book . Thanks for the wonderful review, Nic!

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