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The Vast Fields of Ordinary Hardcover – May 14, 2009
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"A fascinating and dreamy first novel.'"
--New York Times
"...a refreshingly honest, sometimes funny, and often tender novel."
--School Library Journal, starred review
"Burd breathes new life into the old coming-out formula...One of the best in a new generation of LGBTQ novels, it can stand alongside Peter Cameron's and Brian Sloan's."
--Kirkus, starred review
“Nick Burd's The Vast Fields of Ordinary is bold. Engaging. Heartbreaking. A book worthy of attention.”
"The Vast Fields of Ordinary is a wonderfully engaging and satisfying book about all kinds of growing: growing up, growing together, growing apart. Dade Hamilton and his family and friends (and enemies) are all vividly and complexly imagined and realized, and I loved spending time with them. Nick Burd's extremely accomplished and beautifully detailed prose reanimates the usually moribund American suburban wasteland, like an alchemist, he finds the wonder in the ordinary."
--Peter Cameron, author of SOMEDAY THIS PAIN WILL BE USEFUL TO YOU
"Nick Burd's debut novel unfolds like the summer vacation it chronicles: in the beginning the vista seems limitless, but as the pages turn and the days pass the plot thickens and the end comes way before you're ready to put it down. This is a mysterious, funny, wise, generous story, and its main character is someone you need to know, and you'll never forget."
--Dale Peck, author of MARTING & JOHN and SPROUT
"Who can resist a kid who survives his senior year of high school despite having been given the nickname Vagisil? Not I... Dade Hamilton's coming-of-age tale with a Midwest twist is devastatingly real, but it's also funny, touching, and ultimately quite hopeful."
--T Cooper, author of LIPSHITZ SIX, OR TWO ANGRY
"A brilliant account of alienation and angst in the heartland."
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
A bright for spot for Dade is when he meets the neighbors niece who is staying for the summer. She is the first person who really pushes Dade to be himself and shows him he is actually a pretty great guy. I would hate to see this book get tagged as only a gay "coming out" book. It's a great read and comes a cross as one point of view of the thousands of teens out there who are just trying to figure out who they are, dealing with what life throws at them and wondering what life has in store for them.
Moderately sexual explicit scenes a long with drinking and drug use make this book appropriate for high school and above.
Reason #1: Dade is such a hard character to understand. His mood swings wildly. He says something and then contradicts himself the very next chapter. He has such a hot and cold relationship with his parents that I feel more sorry for THEM than I do for him. His interactions with everyone, friend and enemy, leave me confused and wondering what Dade is so angsty about. He brings on most of his own problems and then the things he seems to care about more than anything in the world just get written off a few pages later. His relationships with Pablo and Alex are never fully fleshed out or made to feel "real". More like plot devices that are put in place so Dade can sabotage himself.
Reason #2: For an alienated young gay teen in Iowa he really doesn't have a lot to be writing bad poetry over or drinking his "problems" away. He has two parents who are trying to make their relationship work for him. He has not one but two guys (plus a girl) all pining for him throughout the book. He has a cool Lesbian friend who helps him ease his way into gayness, even taking him to a local gay bar which don't exist in small Iowa towns (not to nitpick... We also have very few below-ground pools). High School sucked but we don't hear hardly anything about high school.Read more ›
It's much better than it sounds. It is very well written, evocative of time and place. I kept thinking of "Catcher in the Rye" (which I've never liked), but this book hasn't got that grim nihilism. This is a top flight book for a young adult audience, or for fans of that (me, an old adult, loves them). It is a simple story of Dade's last summer at home before college. It is the summer when his teen alienation peaks, crashes, and reassembles into something better, stronger, more hopeful. He learns to love and to forgive. But it's not a journey without pain and joy.
If I disliked anything about this book, it's that it feels too spot-on real. As the parent of teenagers I was appalled at the thought that my kids might feel like this about me. But as a one-time gay teenager, Dade's moods and emotions resonated through me like a thunder storm.
I never quite clicked emotionally with Dade, tho' I understood him and agreed with him. In the end, I shared his hope, and came away praying that I'm doing a better job as a parent than his did.
While the book is timely for Dade's own generation it has ramifications for older generations as well. Being gay in America is still fraught with complications on many levels and those who think that recent easing of the public view of homosexuality makes life better, need to be reminded (as the author does for the reader) of the troubling internal and external aspects of leading a double life.
Although Dade comes out to his parents and friends without too much repercussion, Burd deftly explores Dade's relationship with Alex, his main love, and Pablo, his sometime companion. The Jenny Moore character serves as an unnecessary diversion to an otherwise brilliant narrative, but Dade's gay friendships are wonderfully presented and carry a good deal of literary weight. "The Vast Fields of Ordinary" is a compelling first novel by Nick Burd....I hope we read more from him.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
solid 3.5 for me.
I love the ending, initially, but I don't love what happens after the ending. Read more
One of the best young adult LGBT novels I have read. I really found myself loving the main character and his internal dialogue, and I devoured the book in a day - couldn't put it... Read morePublished 5 months ago by CFPIV90
On the surface, this is an average book that is good but not bad. However, when i read this as a Gay, lonely 14 year old who just wanted a boyfriend... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Austin
Really enjoyed the voice and the varying levels of the different queer teens' comfort in their own sexuality; so much of this book felt really true to life, and Dade and Alex had... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Dahlia Adler
I checked this The Vast Fields of Ordinary at least 10 times in my library quiet literally. So i decided that i wanted to buy my own copy so that i could read it over and over... Read morePublished 12 months ago by InuYoukai
I liked this book hence the high rating I chose. It is about a boy who experienced different things the final summer before starting college. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Carlos Jr
I have read quite a number of coming-of-age novels in my life, but I think that this one has to take the cake for really the most captivating as well as, and BY FAR, the most... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Earthwarrior
If someone beats me to writing a screenplay of this book you had better cast me as Dade. This book might as well be my autobiography, but besides that, it is excellently written. Read morePublished 15 months ago by B. Marchand