David by Mary Hoffman

Gabriele moved to Florence in hopes of earnings funds to support a future with his beloved back home. Instead his good looks and innocence take him on a political journey he never expected. Learning the ropes of life in a big city, Gabriele and his ‘milk’ brother, budding artist Michelangelo work together to create a unexpected symbol of the republic, a marble statue of David. Passion, art and politics, Gabriele grows up to discover just what is important in one’s life.

Normally I love historical fiction and a few weeks back I praised the amazing historical YA novel Velvet by Mary Hooper. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same way about Hoffman’s David. I found Gabriele to be lacking in character development, boring as wood and a bit of an idiot. He told the story rather than show it and I found myself falling asleep after the first few chapters. I understand that Gabriele is meant to be an ignorant stonecutter, but he stayed that way all through the novel.

Although I didn’t personally enjoy the book, I did enjoy Hoffman’s writing style. I honestly think most of my dislike of the book is due to the subject matter. It’s not a particular historical period I care about and I know nothing about the political conflicts of the time. Regardless, Hoffman’s writing is brilliantly researched and it brings the reader back in time. For those that love this time period and Italian history, it’s a wonderful read. Just because I didn’t like doesn’t mean that others won’t. I think I’m on the odd end in my feelings of the book. It’s a perfect YA choice for guys and I praise Hoffman for tackling such a difficult (not to mention rare) readership.

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