Christmas is a time for giving - what do you do when no one gives a damn? For Zachary Weston Christmas means sleeping on a churchyard bench in the freezing snow with nothing better in his future. Thrown out of his home for being gay, he is left without money or, it seems, anywhere to go. Until a stranger shows him that some people do give a lot more than a damn. Ben Hamilton is a rookie cop in his small home town. He finds a young throwaway, fresh from the city, sleeping on a bench in the churchyard on a snowy Christmas Eve. Can he be the one to give Zachary his own Christmas miracle?
©2010, 2012 RJ Scott (P)2014 RJ Scott
This is a sweet story about a boy tossed out and down on his luck and his journey to self-discovery and his determination to change the course he is on. Zach meets Ben, Ben begins to feel that tingle within but withholds until Zach is ready for unconditional love. This is their journey to happiness and it is a sweet, horrific, loving, detestable, accepting story that everyone can gain something from. RJ Scott's style and Sean Crisden's narration was a delight...a must read/listen
Zach’s father beats him and tries to “convert” him when he finds out he’s gay. He goes so far as to home school him to keep “evil influences” from him. On the eve of Zach’s 18th birthday, when his father intends to force him to enlist in the military, Zach runs away. He doesn’t have much money, doesn’t get very far, but he does end up in the right place at the right time.
Ben is a young, new cop, doing his job, rousting a vagrant on a park bench on Christmas Eve. Zach is scared and cold and unlikely to make it overnight without help, but Ben’s town is small and doesn’t offer much in terms of runaway support. So he offers Zach a place at his mom’s house for the night.
Well, one thing leads to another and Zach’s story gets told. Everyone falls in love with Zach and eventually all of Ben’s friends and family are enlisted to help Zach out and to encourage Zach to stay and begin a new life.
Zach doesn’t know what to do. His sister is still in his father’s clutches. Zach doesn’t feel right accepting all this charity, but now that he’s 18 he does has some choice in the matter of his life plan and he doesn’t want to go home.
Zach accepts the help, eventually retrieves his sister, and starts life over with the help of Ben and his family.
Ben, who is 6 years older than Zach, keeps his hands to himself for as long as he possibly can. But between his own attraction and Zach’s, by the time Zach is 19 the two have succumbed and begin a relationship that exceeds friendship.
This is a very packed short story. It doesn’t feel inadequate or rushed. Sure, it would have been nice to struggle along with Zach as he grows. Maybe the tension between he and Ben could have been stretched a bit more. But, overall, it fits nicely into its 73 pages.
Zach has a horrible life and by comparison Ben is living in a dream world. The hurdles the couple face are fairly small and the bulk of this story is really about Zach finding his own way out of a bad past into a bright future.
I loved that the author does give us a final scene between Zach and Ben that is quite satisfying!
I really enjoyed this little holiday book and give it 4.5 of 5 stars
Sean Crisden is a favorite narrator of mine, and he does a nice job with this as well. There are no over-the-top voices but everyone is nicely differentiated. Sean’s voice allows you to sink into the story, know who is who without reading along, and his “emoting” is always appropriate.
I give the narration 4.5 of 5 stars as well.
4 stars – I really liked it
Eclectic reader but mostly read anything seafaring, Tolkien and American history, even Pride and Prejudice and romance stories.
Imagine you are a teen and kicked out to live or die on your own. Sad, but it happens, especially if the child is gay. I had a very soft spot for Zach in this story who had to endure pain from an abusive father then kicked out. Zach is one of the lucky ones: he was found by a kindhearted policeman while asleep on a bench in a church lot and taken in by a loving family for Christmas. The narrator does a very good job with this story. He doesn't overly dramatize nor play down the emotions. His voice, deep and comforting, is very soothing so we know things will turn out positively but I still cried and got very emotional to everything in this storyline. Well, done!
Nice story, but development lacks cohesion. There is a lot of time-shifting forward without warning. I wish there was a little less detail per scene and more timeline to the story.
Inspirational, Touching, and Heart-melting
I have yet to read or hear of another story such as this, which actually what makes it stand on it's own, and it does it very well indeed.
I have actually several favourite scenes, yet they all have to do with the the conversations between Zack and Ben. Those were so honest, raw, filled with genuine love and care... I could not have written them any better.
Just one act of kindness, can change lives...
There were a few paragraphs and phrases that were not in the book, yet were on the script used to make this audible book. I think it may be the version that the author intended to publish. However the additional paragraphs and phrases did not alter the story in any way whatsoever.
"Bitter sweet suspense of love & caring. Excellent."
I love love love this book so much. first brought as an ebook then as audio because I couldn't get enough. I listen or read it every 3 months or so. I feel wonderfully frustrated with Ben holding back him 'need' of Zac, so that he can do things right when they do get together. Zac feeling flashbacks of insecurity is realistic because nobody's past experience disappears with a click of fingers. Part of me would love to see this in film though another part doubts they could put the look and feeling evoked by the written and audible word. Now where Mr R. J. Scott do I find a family and friends like this to belong??? The beginning - simple and beautiful.
Good storyline, believable characters, OK narration, would listen to this author again but prefer to have a cast to read the story.
"A lovely Christmas story"
I will listen to it again at christmas I imagine.
This book was a simple but engaging story about a young guy and a cop, I could imagine the scenes and really enjoyed listening to the story. I only hope there is a follow up at some point. The christmas spirit that is captured in a good film was captured for me in this book.
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