Ozimandias's Reviews > The Vast Fields of Ordinary

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd
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's review
Apr 23, 2011

it was ok
Read in April, 2011

Burd graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workship and the book takes place in a Cedar Rapids-type of place. All fine so far. The main character Dade is a gay kid from a middle-class family with stereotypical problems (mom drinks, dad works a lot and has affair). He himself is plagued with the issue of being in a secret relationship with the Sexican, Pablo, the hot athlete. Apparently, Pablo had a girlfriend and wanted Dade on the side. Dade wanted more, Pablo couldn't abide, and their relationship, if that is what you want to call it, was torn asunder. Dade's sadness is lessened by immediately meeting Alex, the gay cool loser who sells marijuana and works at an always-empty taco joint. Too convenient for me. Then a lesbian is staying with some neighbors of his, and voila, Dade now has an entire accepting world around him, littered with cool people who are totally into him. Pablo continues to seek Dade out, and he in turn is endlessly angry and callous, completely not realizing that maybe Pablo is going through the exact same crisis that Dade himself just escaped. I don't like Dade at all because of this treatment, so adolescent narcissist. If gays are supposed to be sensitive and empathic, Dade is not one of them. After being rebuffed one last time, and even kissing Dade on the lips, a sure sign of progress and acceptance on Pablo's part, the star athlete and closet homo goes and kills himself. All of a sudden, Dade is crushed and endlessly in tears. I was more interested in Pablo's story than Dade's because Dade's story has been done before. If only the author were a minority who could explore what it would be like for a minority like Pablo to accept himself as gay. Oh wait, what? Nick Burd is black? Oh. I guess it's easier to write about all the white people around him during his tenure in Iowa. Shame for that because the book could have been a lot more interesting and fulfilling.
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