Thursday, July 28, 2011

REVIEW: David by Mary Hoffman

David by Mary Hoffman is the first book of hers that I've read, but it certainly won't be the last.

This book really just felt very different from anything I've read lately. It isn't just that it's historical, which is a genre that I don't often read, but the combination of political intrigue, scandal, art and descriptions of an Italy I'd be desperate to see made this book hugely exciting and fascinating. I couldn't wait to find out what had happened, but at the same time I felt inspired to learn more about the different political factions in Florence, and about art and sculpture. It isn't often that an author can pull that off so successfully.

David is the fictionalised story of what it might have been like for the artist's model of Michaelangelo's now-famous sculpture of David. Gabriele has come to the city in order to visit his milk-brother, the famous artist he refers to simply as 'Angelo.' Whilst in Florence, Gabriele has an affair with a wealthy widow, becomes an artist's model and finds himself dangerously involved in the different political parties of the time.

It seems so obvious now, but I hadn't realised that the David being referred to with this piece of art is from the David versus the Goliath story. And of course that David and the story seems to mirror some of the politcal turmoil at the time. I think at first, Gabriele's dabbling in politics is done without any real forethought into what could possibly happen and he allows himself to get drawn in further and further. And much can also be said about his romantic entanglements! Gabriele really isn't the usual YA hero. He makes lots of mistakes and is quite lazy in his choices. In some ways, I felt a little detached from him as a character, but never from the story, which I feel was more important anyway.

David by Mary Hoffman was such an enjoyable and interesting read, I'm really quite glad to have read it. Mary Hoffman fans, which book of hers shall I read next?


  1. This was my first Mary Hoffman too. What a book to start with, hey? Glad you enjoyed it. :)

  2. Sophie - Yes, exactly! Such a great book, I look forward to reading other books she's written..

  3. Great review, I've been seeing so much positive buzz about this book. I had never realised that David was the David and Goliath one either.

    I sat in a lecture that talked a lot about Florence earlier this year, it's now very high on my wish list for a visit, sounds like this book might be my kind of thing.

  4. I really must get a copy of this one soon, it sounds wonderful!

  5. Heard so many good things about this book, I must get it!

  6. This sounds really good! I wonder if this is the Mary Hoffman I read a long time ago... Must research that!

  7. Jenni - I think it would be IMPOSSIBLE to read this book and NOT want to go visit Italy directly afterwards. And all the art! I had no idea I'd find that so fascinating.

    Raimy - Oh it IS! :)

    Hannah - I hope you do, I found it be really interesting :)

    Kailana - This book has only recently been published, but Mary Hoffman has written many books!


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