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Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany

Outside the Lines (2012)

by Amy Hatvany

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I always love finding an author who writes the way this author does---and no wonder---she is good friends with other authors I like and they review each other's books. I found her when another author recommended her books. ( )
  nyiper | Feb 7, 2015 |
This is my third book by Amy Hatvany, and each one of them is sooooo deserving of 5 stars . I am delighted I found this author through my reading of Sarah Pekkanen’s books (another one of my favorites)!

I could not put “Outside the Lines” down- Amy did an outstanding job of capturing the experience of mental illness, with the alternating perspectives of David (father) and Eden (daughter), as well as moving back and forth in time. It gave much insight and depth to each of the characters, feelings, and emotions. Amy’s subject matter is so real with raw emotion--the family dynamics, making each of her books so unique.

I could really sympathize with all the characters, and put in this situation, not sure how I would have reacted. Lydia did all she could do in protecting her daughter and at some point in time you become an enabler. In the end David did not enjoy being trapped and being on the streets, gave him the freedom.

The character of Jack was amazing and the dynamics of his relationship with Eden, as well as her relationship with step brother and stepfather. In a way, I feel Jack could sympathize with David, as he too chose a path of freedom away from this own controlling father.
I do believe highly talented creative artistic minds work differently, and they demand a lot of solitude in order to create their masterpieces; being drugged and hospitalized would take away that inspiration.

The ending was brilliant and loved everything about this novel – it will bring tears. The love the author put into this book, the research, and her background working in shelters,--definitely reflected throughout. (I can just picture the Garden of Eden) and have a few of the cast members in mind for a possible movie!
( )
  JudithDCollins | Nov 27, 2014 |
Listening to OUTSIDE THE LINES stirred up all kinds of emotions in me. The story is about a woman's quest to find her father, missing from her life for 20 years. Eden was 10 when her parents divorced, her father David's suicide attempt was the last straw for her mother. David, a very talented artist, suffered from mental illness most of his adult life, and he was unwilling to stay on medication. After the divorce David disappeared from mainstream society, earning a few dollars for alcohol by sketching portraits of tourists and living on the streets.

I enjoyed how the story was told from Eden's and David's POVs, and the time period alternates between 2010 and the late 1980s forward. It took several chapters for me to warm up to Eden and become invested in her quest. Just hearing about David's behavior and how it affected Eden made me angry. He was a man who did not want to be helped. As the story progressed, I began to understand and sympathize with Eden. I particularly loved seeing her relationship with Jack develop. Jack was the founder and director of Hope House, a homeless shelter in Seattle. (Eden described him as looking like Tom Cruise without the "crazed look" in his eyes. Ha ha.) Jack helped Eden see the situation with her father in a new and realistic light.

Overall, I liked the audio performance by Candace Thaxton as Eden and Corey Brill as David. Both captured the temperament and emotions of their character very well. My only complaint was there was little or no variation in voices of the secondary characters, and sometimes it was hard to tell who was speaking.

OUTSIDE THE LINES is a poignant story about love, trust, forgiveness, and acceptance. The bittersweet ending made me teary-eyed. Amy Hatvany is an amazing storyteller, and I'm looking forward to reading more from her.

Source: Review copy from publisher ( )
  bookofsecrets | Jan 4, 2014 |
Good but not great. Too happily-ever-after, but did have many more realistic components and could have been a lot worse! A somewhat romantic view of father-daughter relationships. ( )
  oldblack | May 24, 2013 |
(This review is cross-posted on my blog, Ms. Wordopolis Reads: http://mswordopolis.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/outside-the-lines-by-amy-hatvany/

Outside the Lines is the story of Eden West, a professional chef, who searches for her mentally ill homeless father David whom she hasn’t seen since she was ten years old. Her parents divorced shortly after his suicide attempt and institutionalization. Eden has hit a plateau in her personal and professional lives: she’s about thirty years old, she’s not in a serious relationship, and she’d like to leave her corporate catering job to open her own restaurant. She decides she’d like to find her father in order to get some closure on their relationship so she can move forward in her life. Helping her along the way are Jack, the director of a local homeless shelter where Eden volunteers; her mother, a reluctant supporter who’s been going through cancer treatment; and her best friend Georgia, who happens to be, helpfully enough, a life coach. The story isn’t easy or pretty, much like Hatvany’s previous book, Best Kept Secret, but it is compelling.

The first thing that works about this novel is the plot. The book begins with Eden visiting the morgue to see if a particular corpse is her father’s. The stakes are high from the beginning of the story: Eden wants to see her father as an adult and find out why he left, why he never got in touch with her, and to find out how he’s coping with his mental illness and homelessness. Hatvany does a good job switching perspectives from Eden to David: she captures their voices at different ages and at different stages in David’s illness well. The narrative jumps between the present and the past, with the flashback sections leading up to David’s suicide attempt.

Secondly, Hatvany is very good at depicting family relationships, particularly Eden and her dad when she was a child. Also good is Eden’s relationship with her ailing mother. It’s hard to talk about and pursue the father whom her mother never talks about.

Finally, I have some minor quibbles with the novel. The character of Georgia is a bit flat: she feels like a sidekick in a movie more than a real character. I have the same quibble with Jack, Eden’s love interest. He’s a perfect, supportive partner with his own issues with his parents. Hatvany tries to flesh them out, but they don’t have much to do besides support Eden in this story. I think this is because the novel is about Eden’s all-consuming search for her father: it’s Eden’s story, not Georgia’s or Jack’s.

All in all, Outside the Lines is a good read that I found more satisfying than some memoirs I’ve read about growing up in dysfunctional families because I think novelists fill in more of a story than memoirists sometimes do.

Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Source: Publisher via Netgalley ( )
  rkreish | Mar 31, 2013 |
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When Eden was ten years old she found her father, David, bleeding out on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents' divorce, and David all but vanished from Eden's life. Since childhood, she has heard from him only rarely, just enough to know he's been living on the streets and struggling with mental illness. But lately, there has been no word at all. Now in her thirties, Eden decides to go look for her father, so she can forgive him at last, and finally move forward. When her search uncovers other painful truths--not only the secrets her mother has kept from her, but also the agonizing question of whether David, after all these years, even wants to be found--Eden is forced to decide just how far she'll go in the name of love.--From back cover.… (more)

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