Book Review: The Vast Fields of Ordinary

The Vast Fields of Ordinary, by Nick Burd

Oh, I so wanted to like this book. I really really did.

For one thing, no one wants to feel like they never like anything, and lately books I like seem to be few and far between. And I loved the title and so I went into it hoping for the best.

And also, how can I put this?  So far, I haven’t read any books about gay male teenagers that I find remotely as appealing as my favorite YAF books where the same old same old happens and a  girl falls in love with a boy.  And I’d like to think it’s not me, that I don’t only like books about people who are just! like! me!. So I’m waiting for the book that does that for me.

But that was not this book, unfortunately.

So the main character Dade is gay, a senior in high school, and carrying on a secret romance with a really popular boy in his class named Pedro.  Understandably the fact that Pedro and all his friends treat Dade like crap every two minutes doesn’t make him feel too great.  When he meets Alex at Taco Time and they fall in love, he finds the strength to tell Pedro to get over himself, and things progress from there, although the romance is tempered by the fact that Dade is leaving for college in Michigan at the end of the summer, and Alex doesn’t appear to have too many career goals besides selling pot to high schoolers and making tacos.

So, first problem – the character of Alex was so unbelievable as to be essentially a cartoon. Super hot, super nice, secure in his sexuality, with tons of friends who never appear to care or even notice that their friend is gay?  Alex’s sexuality and his relationship with Dade is NEVER mentioned by any of his friends, at any point in the book.  Uh huh.  Not buying it.  Magical hot gay boy who everyone loves and no one questions EVER just shows up and everything is fabulous?  I don’t think so.

Also, the fake band names?  SO SO SO SO SO TERRIBLE.  I seriously cannot deal when people make up fake names for stuff in books.  I mean, I guess I can forgive you Omnipedia for Wikipedia or what have you.  But I just simply cannot give you a pass for naming your fake teen band VAS DEFERENS.  Ugh. No no no no no no no. Good lord.

And Dade is all het up about his parents and how they aren’t getting along and how he thinks they might get a divorce when he leaves for college and how they’re so annoying and harshing his buzz, but quite frankly his parents seemed kind of nice to me.  And really, is it the worst thing in the world if your parents are trying to work it out and stay together so they can parent you together and they live in a big house and they bought you a BMW and they’re proud of you for getting into a good college? Is this really going to keep you up at night the summer after your senior year?

Lastly, the ending was awful. Just awful.  Pedro has creepily been stalking Dade ever since he started dating Alex, and yet when he shows up at Dade’s house towards the end of the novel, Dade is all “Oh, Pedro, the memories” instead of “Oh Pedro I am dialing 911” and I just DID. NOT. BUY. IT.

So to make a long story short, I’m still waiting to be swept away by “boy likes boy” YAF.  But just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it can’t.  This, however, was not that book. Anyone have any recommendations for me?

Should you read it?: Maybe, so you can tell me what you think. I’d be interested to know if maybe it was just me.


10 Responses

  1. Uh…your review makes me want to stab my eyeballs out. So, that would be a No for me. Anyone?

  2. HA HA HA HA HA! No, I think I won’t read it. LOVED the review.

  3. The fake band name reminds me of a book I once saw called “The Very Virile Viking.” I had to read the back cover, which stated that the main male character (a viking) was an act-whore in Holly Wood.

  4. Best review ever, but yeah, not at all tempted to go grab that book.

    Also, I am SO annoyed by books where the kids are so certain they have the worst parents in the world when, dude, your life is easy. Get over yourself now.

  5. …instead of “Oh Pedro, I am calling 911 now.” Priceless. Fabulous review.

  6. maybe it’s not that you don’t like boy + boy stories but that there aren’t good writers of that flavor?

    or wait, did you say that?

    if so, i agree. 🙂

  7. […] More Reviews: Bookish Blather; Becky’s Book Reviews; Princess Nebraska; Homo-Neurotic; Reading Junky’s Reading […]

  8. Okay i read the book and you know what i loved it it was sad but i really loved it the book is about a gay teens life and yeah his problems might not be big but their his problems everybody has them big or small their apart of his life and whats hes going through and also the Sexicans name is not Pedro its Pablo oh and one more thing theirs are lots of stupid names out their for bands and stupid names of bands do exsist you make me want to pull my hair out ugh!

  9. Yeah youd should totally read it for yourself and not let some dick that doesnt know anything about gay teens lifes tell you its not a good bood Read It Its A really good book

  10. So I don’t understand this at all this is a AMAZING book probably one of my favorites. I just finished reading it and I hate reading but I loved it. And Boy Meets Boy is an amazing book & is almost like The Vast Fields.

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