Thursday, March 22, 2012

Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany

3.5 Star
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. 

Kaley - 3.5 Star

I have to admit that I’m not usually one to read novels with a heavier plot. I’m more drawn to the characters that have issues with too many shoes or too many men than those that are battling personal demons. I try to step outside my comfort zone and read something that is a little bit more serious so I was glad to have the chance to read Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany. While this novel drew me into Eden’s life and her story, in the end I don’t think it was quite for me.

This novel was written in multiple perspectives – Eden in present day, Eden as a child in 1989, and David starting in 1989. At first I wasn’t too sure how I felt about that. I thought having Eden’s current perspective was enough and it was sometimes a pain to flip back and forth. Eventually, though, I began to appreciate why Hatvany was giving us the three viewpoints. While we can try to understand Eden’s motives as an adult, being privy to her thoughts as a child really showcase how much her father’s problems affected her. Also, without David’s point of view it would have been too easy to blame him for everything and think that he should have tried harder to get better. Because I got to read his thoughts as well, I could see just how hard he did try and how much of a stranglehold his mental illness had on him. In the end I was really glad Hatvany decided to write the novel from the viewpoints of both Eden and David.

Eden was an interesting character. She thinks she has it all together but she doesn’t fully realize how much her father’s illness has affected her. She was abandoned by someone she trusted with her life and that cut a lot deeper than she wanted to believe. With the help of a strong mother, a wonderful stepfather and half brother, an amazing best friend, and a great guy, Eden is able to overcome her issues and start to heal. That may sound typical and not very exciting but Hatvany manages to write Eden and David’s story in a way that you want to keep turning the pages to see how it will all unfold.

I haven’t read any of Jodi Picoult’s books myself but I feel I know enough about her novels to say that fans of her work may enjoy Outside the Lines well. Overall, I liked the novel. Did I love it? No, but that is purely for personal taste. That being said, I plan to keep an eye of Hatvany and see what she comes up with next.

Thank you to Atria Books - Simon and Schuster for our review copy!

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