Slice, by Steven Herrick

My name is Darcy Franz Pele Walker.
Ignore the middle names.
I do.
My Dad is a football nut and he figured if he named me after his two favourite players, I’d turn out just like them. At the age of five, I’d stand in the backyard wearing baggy blue shorts and a Brazilian jersey watching the clouds, the trees, birds tilting overhead on the breeze.
Dad would shout, ‘Ready, Darcy?’ and roll the ball temptingly my way.
‘Just kick it with all you’ve got, son.’
I’d look at the coloured panels on the ball.
‘Just swing your foot, Darcy.’

Darcy is sixteen and in Year 11. He’s not sporty or tough. He can quote Shakespeare and he has a crush on Audrey which he’s not game to do anything about. He also has a habit of speaking without really thinking about the consequences. This gets him into trouble sometimes but also defines him. It helps him get to know Audrey, and to understand what’s going on with his nerdy friend Noah. It also helps him deal with football-loving, physical Braith and Tim. Slice is the story of Darcy’s Year 11, told in bites both juicy and delicious.

Told in prose, Slice is full of wonderful images, told in a few words, much like Herrick’s verse novels. It’s hilarious too. Darcy’s voice is very dry, very droll. His observations of others and awareness of himself are astute. He may be physically not up to the likes of Braith and Tim, but he has developed his own sense of self, his own defences. Scenes like the one where Dad does the ‘sex talk’ with Darcy are laugh-out loud funny because they are so familiar. This is a novel which celebrates those who understand their place in the world, even if those around them don’t. It’s a joy to read.
Recommended for mid-secondary readers.

Slice: Juicy Moments from My Impossible Life

Slice: Juicy Moments from My Impossible Life, Steven Herrick
Woolshed Press 2010
ISBN: 9781864719642

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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