Marian D. Schwartz is a gifted storyteller. At 41 pages, Benjamin Clymer’s Gift was a fast, enjoyable and moving Amish-like historical fiction. It is the tale of a wood carver that experiences the high and lows of life. His life is a simple one, a farmer once and wood carver who loses his family, wallows a bit in grief, but not self-pity, and ends up doing what he loves, carving wood.
This is also the tale of books, the power of reading to heal or at least take the edge off grief, the rawness away when Benjamin immerses himself in worlds he would never know otherwise.
Benjamin Clymer’s Gift is also, as the title of this review suggests, a warning about first or even second impressions. A snake is still a snake even if tells you it is not. Benjamin’s legacy of a writer’s haven is almost thwarted by such a snake.