The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick | Book Review

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I’ve already talked about this book. But after a re-read and my writing skills having improved immensely haha I decided to review it again!  

Going by chapters will not work for books that aren’t bio’s, so like Tyler’s I’m going to mix it up a bit!

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Prose. I don‘t think I’ve ever read another prose/poem book but ‘The Simple Gift’ could really get me into it. Each page is a different poem written to tell the tale about the three characters; Billy, Old Bill and Caitlin. It’s brilliant as its easy to read and so enjoyable so even the slowest of readers could read it in a day. It’s a book where you just want to see how they all turn out, so the pages keep turning. 

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Theme’s. Now that’s a word that flash’s you back to highschool haha. “What’s themes does the book represent” don‘t worry I’m not going to go all highschool English teacher on you. But just like Binge‘ by Tyler Oakley there were some key elements that stood out and inspired me.  

Enjoy the little things | Coincidentally this book relates a lot to my goals post for this month. Appreciating everyone around me, myself and taking a step back and enjoying the smaller things life offers. Reading a book, resting, eating you name it. This whole books circles around a homeless boy called Billy who understands what the finer things in life and that you don’t need certain things to be happy with yourself. Reading the book a second time round I remembered how much of an inspiration Billy is and I look at how I could be more like him. 

Don’t take your loved ones for granted | You get more out of a moment with them than any other materialistic thing you could own. You see this realization mainly from Old Bill who keeps talking about how he would spend more time at work to buy things for his family rather than spending time with them. Caitlin figures out that she doesn’t care about what she owns, she just wants a genuine relationship someone to trust and be there with her. I think sometimes we do forget this in everyday life and need to take a step back and pay attention. How many times have you been on your phone at dinner with friends, how many times have you got your headphones in when you could be catching up with family. This is one not to forget.

The simple gifts | Life gives us simple gifts all the time;
being relaxed in each others spaces 
eating together, easy conversation
– laughter 
– love
The whole book displays simple acts of kindness and love and how they can help improve your life way more than anything else could. Each character has their own way of discovering this and showing it back to each other.

Don’t judge people at first glance | Stereotypes play a big role in our lives whether we like it or not. It’s as if from an early age we are told to use these and end up judging people before we even know them. It is evident from the beginning that people see someone and judge them. As soon as Billy arrives in town, school kids mock him about being homeless. Caitlin see’s Old Bill for the first time with Billy, she goes into shock and runs away. For the first time seeing them as homeless men, she immediately regrets running off. Calling herself a foolish school girl and invites them round for tea. She learns about them as people, she likes them as people so why should it matter what they are labeled as. I love these parts of the books Billy has my favourite prose about this;

“All the students look clean

and rich and smug

and confident,

and I thought of Caitlin

and decided I shouldn’t judge,

not yet anyway.”

It proves you shouldn’t judge someones character until you actually learn about that person, otherwise whats the point? You could be missing out on a whole lot. 


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5 Simple Gifts you can give to others

A smile | A smile does a whole lot of good. You never know when someone needs it so why not smile at everyone you pass.
Sharing a meal and talking | There‘s something special about sitting around a table, eating good food and everyone talking about their lives and passions.
Sharing | Even when you don’t have much to share. Billy constantly gives throughout the book when he owns nothing of his own. I think that’s very special
Listening | Letting someone know that you can listen to them and understand them is one of the best gifts. We sometimes get so caught up in talking about ourselves we don’t give others the same opportunity. 
Acceptance | Accept people for who they are and what they stand for. This doesn’t mean taking people’s crap but accepting when it is time to accept and teach when it is time to teach. Allowing everyone to feel like they belong and not harshly judged.

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A favourite Quote |

“And I’m not a spoilt brat OK,

but I am spoilt,

spoilt to boredom,

and I’m smart enough

to realise that none of this

means anything…” 

This book is great for teens and even young adults. If you’re super into poetry and coming of age tales this is the book for you!

What are your favourite prose/poetry books? Have you read ‘The Simple Gift’?

Love Always,