The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick is a Verse-Novel, that deals with different aspects of belonging. It is Written from the perspective of the three main characters, Billy, Old Bill and Caitlin, with each character written like a journal entry.
The Book begins with Billy living with his dad in -nowheresville- in which billy feels no belonging to the community, any social group, and people including his abusive father, ‘But I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t want any. (p.102) That quote shows how due to the poor quality of any belonging in the town he'd rather go without. this isolation and lack of belonging cause billy to run away, in search of belonging in far off places. this is where he finds his first act of kindness directed towards him from ernie the train driver of the train billy got a ride on ‘Get your bag and come to the Guard’s van. there’s a heater that works, and some coffee.’ (p. 12)
After Billy runs away he end up in a town called bendarat in which he discovers initial rejection ‘As I near the town there’s more cars and school buses, yellow, full of kids shouting insults at me, the bum.’ (p. 21) But soon finds belonging in a physical sense quickly "‘Bendarat is the perfect town. A friendly librarian, a warm McDonalds, luxury train accommodation." (p. 39) This Shows that billy has found belonging in his own sense, for example 'luxury train accommodation' is really an abandoned railway carriage, but billy soon finds security and belonging in it, "It was like a little cave, a warm, safe little cave… Billy’s cave." (p. 63) He soon finds friends in this new town, Caitlin a rich girl who works at mcdonalds and falls inlove with billy and they both feel a sense of belonging in the personal context. " Billy has become the diary entry of my days." It is a metaphor to show the fact that Caitlin feels she can trust Billy with anything, and hes like a diary to her. Showing how they connect and start to belong when they are with each other.
And Old Bill an old homeless hobo man who live in the train yard.