The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd

May 12, 2011
More by this author
Have you ever gazed at a map of the world? Once you can trace your finger to your country then perhaps your state, can you even see the city you call home? If your town is so miniscule then it is in our nature to ponder how big you really are on this map of Earth. Then one must consider the concept of a never-ending space filled with stars, planets, and galaxies. Sometimes we all feel small, maybe insignificant at times. Although at the end of the day, we all just consider ourselves…ordinary.
Dade Hamilton is finally graduated from high school and has his one last “free” summer left until he ventures to college. Will one last summer change much for Dade though? Dade is in a relationship with Pablo Soto, or one of the most popular guys in high school. However, Pablo is also in a relationship with one of the most popular girls in school. After every night with Pablo, Dade still does not feel loved. Pablo is ashamed of Dade. As a result, their relationship is a secret. In retrospect, Dade and Pablo were not in a relationship but rather Pablo would use Dade then despise every touch shared.
Dade has never had to openly say that he was gay. People either assumed or did not know. Then Alex Kincaid wandered into Dade’s Life. After a short amount of time Dade begins to feel that his connection with Alex is something much more special than he can even comprehend. As feelings for Alex blossom even further, Pablo is left behind. Pablo struggles with his identity and sexuality as Dade moves forward. Alex makes Dade confront what had once been unfathomable. Dade gathers the courage to tell his parents, whom are already set over the edge with their own crumbling relationship.
Jenny Moore, a nine year-old autistic girl, has gone missing. Jenny’s disappearance has Dade questioning the difference between life and living. Jenny keeps cropping up, but what is she supposed to teach Dade? Things seemed to be going smoothly for Dade for a bit; nonetheless, he worries about his relationship with Alex when he moves away to college. Dade wonders what his parents will do once he leaves the house. Dade does not know how his sexual orientation will be accepted at college. With the future so out of focus, Dade is not finding any answers.
When a tragic death strikes, how will Dade handle it? Coming to terms with the mysteries of existence will not come easily, but where can Dade go next? Will Dade be stuck? Death may strike, but more importantly it encourages a life. Dade is conflicted with his emotions. Dade chooses to let his experiences define him, whether they are sad, happy, perplexing, or short lived.
. Burd’s writing style unfolds an unusual plot with a realistic setting of teen homosexuality. The plot of the novel itself may sometimes slow and only become vaguely interesting; however, Burd’s story unravels on a deeper level. Between the pages Burd includes questions about existence in such a vast world and what it may have in store for those who seek to know. The novel involves some critical thinking on the reader’s part; however, varying on the interpretation the words on the page may mystify, excite, or perhaps have no effect on the reader.
The novel follows an inquisitive and heartfelt path. The novel includes realistic characters who struggle, laugh, and cry along the way. The novel teaches us to come to terms with the size of our world and embrace the equally vast possibilities. The Vast Fields of Ordinary is a novel to challenge your ideas and toy with your heart and mind.

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