5 out of 5 stars
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Maurice is a priest who teaches high school boys. At the end of the school year, Cam, who is one of Maurice's students, approaches Maurice and confesses that he is gay. Cam's father, Jim, who recently separated from his wife, invites Maurice to accompany them on a trip to Italy; Jim doesn't want the extra ticket to go to waste. Maurice agrees to go along to try and give extra support to Cam. On this trip, Maurice meets a photographer, Isabelle, and begins to form a relationship with her. Throughout this trip, Maurice begins to question his path in life and his principles. Cam struggles with isolation and not knowing where his life is going. Themes of faith, loneliness, discovery, and more are captured in Deer in the Fields of Venice by D. M. Zultowski.
The writing style of the book is what first caught my attention. From the start, Zultowski utilized poetic language to bring the book to life. He often compared the cities of Italy to a lover, and this personification was a prevailing theme. I had no trouble picturing the landscapes or grasping the breath of emotions the characters were feeling. I felt especially connected to Maurice as he struggled with finding his path in life; he had been a teacher and priest due to convenience and aptitude, but the trip sparked feelings of wondering if it was his true path. He begins to loosen up, enjoy life, and bend the rules for the first time in his life. The cities he visits inspire his self-discovery, and these ideas are presented masterfully.
I struggle to think of anything negative about this book. I did not notice any grammatical errors; this book was exceptionally well-edited. I thought the characters were relatable and realistic. The tension between Cam and Maurice builds as Maurice and Isabelle grow closer, and it highlights how Cam is afraid of losing those close to him; this is an understandable fear as his mother had just left his father.
This book is more than worthy of 5 out of 5 stars. From the beginning, the poetic language captured my attention. The themes of fate, authority, and love drove the plot and made my reading experience delightful. I highly recommend this book to adults who enjoy poetic language and reading about internal struggles. I believe that anyone would be able to relate to the characters and enjoy this beautifully written novel.
Deer in the Fields of Venice
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