Book Reviews

Simple Treasures by Alan Chin at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Interracial / Romance / Drama
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 13-November-2016

Book Blurb

Newly released from a mental institution, Simple’s first job is caring for Emmett, a crusty drunkard dying of cancer on a ranch in Utah. Simple’s first fragile friendship is with Emmett’s grandson Jude, a gay youth in Gothic drag who gets nothing but grief from his grandfather. In an attempt to help both men, Simple, a Shoshone Indian, decides to perform a ceremony that will save Emmett by transferring his spirit into the body of a falcon.

Working to capture a falcon will bring Emmett and Jude closer as Jude and Simple’s growing love for each other blossoms, but all is not well. When the ranch, Jude’s future, and Simple’s happiness are threatened, more than Emmett’s spirit faces a bleak future.

Book Review

Dignity is a difficult word to define because it has different meanings depending upon the situation. If I had to define it in one word, for Emmett Bishop of 'Simple Treasures' by Alan Chin, it would be harmony. Emmett is dying and he's lost everything—his wife, his health, and his desire to live; but when Emmett loses harmony with himself and all that is around him, he loses his dignity. Fortunately for Emmett, Simple comes into his life with a solution that enables Emmett to regain his self respect.

As in all of his books, Alan Chin's characters are wonderfully flawed, each one holding the possibility of being an entire story within themselves. In this case, his main character, Simple, is the epitome of all things that appear complex, but in essence are not. Simple is just that–simple, not as in simple-minded, but he's simply uncomplicated. Besides adding mystery to his personality, Simple's loss of memory also makes him less complicated because he has no past; he lives only in the present. Using his Shoshone beliefs, gentle persuasion, and his unwavering humility, he convinces Emmett and his grandson, Jude, that life is far less complicated than they're making it, and by their own actions, are diminishing themselves more than anyone else ever could.

Comparing Emmett and Simple's grandfather is a good way of tying the two together not only for the reader, but for Simple as well. It shows how Simple is able to understand Emmett by what he can remember of his grandfather. It also enhances the relationship between Simple and his grandfather, enabling him to work out some of his own conflict. Emmett's influence on Simple is almost as profound as Simple's is on him. By helping Emmett restore harmony in his life, he also helps Simple find greater peace in his own life.

Jude, Emmett's grandson, is a sad, lonely man, aching for love. He knows he's different and instead of hiding it, flaunts it like a weapon against those who should be loving and accepting but aren't, like his father, Lance, who exemplifies what happens when ego overtakes pride. Simple is a great influence on Jude's life not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually. They fill each other's need for companionship bringing greater peace to both of their lives.

'Simple Pleasures' is written in Alan Chin's distinctly descriptive, lyrical style, with strong characters and stronger ideals. He even throws in a minilesson in fly-fishing and falconry. If your reading tastes lean toward a good story with more of an intellectual and spiritual bend, then this book may well be one you'll appreciate.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 136 pages/33853 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 31-August-2011
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link