Thursday, November 15, 2012

Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany

Outside the LinesWhen 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.


“A palpable love story, emotional search for and acceptance of a lost parent, and a bittersweet ending make for an enveloping, heartfelt read.”—Publishers Weekly

“There are no storybook perfect endings here, but this compelling novel raises the possibility of a hopeful way forward.” —The Seattle Times

“Will delight readers…vivid and written with a depth of feeling.” —Library Journal

"Like a gorgeous dark jewel, Hatvany’s exquisitely rendered novel explores the tragedy of a mind gone awry, a tangled bond of father and daughter, and the way hope and love sustain us. This novel does what the best fiction does: it makes us see and experience the world differently." Caroline LeavittNew York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

"This extraordinary novel about a woman's search for her lost father--and herself--touched me deeply. With her trademark insight and compassion for her characters, Amy Hatvany has written a beautiful and moving book. Were there Oscars for novels, Outside the Lines would sweep the categories."
Melissa Senate, author of The Love Goddess' Cooking School

"Outside the Lines offers a fascinating look at the interior of a mental illness—the exuberance and self-loathing, creativity and destruction that then reverberate against the lives of family and loved-ones. Hatvany’s storyline is compelling, weaving back and forth between father and daughter, patiently explaining as it asks all the important questions."
—Juliette Fay, author of Shelter Me

Amy Hatvany

Image of Amy HatvanyAmy Hatvany graduated with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs - some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist.

In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on her passion: writing books. OUTSIDE THE LINES is her second novel written under the name Amy Hatvany, and she is the author of two others.
Amy lives in Seattle with her husband and two children and would love to hear from you...please visit

My Review:
          (As I  mentioned a few weeks ago, this was our book club selection this month. I hope that some of you read along with us. I would love to hear what you thought of the book.)

          When you read the title of the book, Outside the Lines, there is no indication of what the storyline is. What the story does is chronicle the love and the lives of a father and daughter, drawn into the world of mental illness. Outside the Lines banters back and forth between two points of view; the daughter and her mentally ill father. The author does an outstanding job of transversing from the daughter to the father, and switching quiet smoothly between the past and present.

          “The demons were winning. No matter what he did or how hard he tried, David felt them writhing around inside his head, gnawing at his resolve to stay well like a dog on a bone. He went through the motions of being normal but could not combat the feeling that at any moment he might crack wide open and be revealed as the imposter he was.”

          The story portrays a young woman, who feels a deep abandonment from finding her father bleeding out from a suicide attempt, only to then have him walk out of her life, and her continuous search for him.

          “Right there, in the middle of the night on a downtown street corner, Jack held me in his arms and for the first time in as long as I could remember, I felt safe.”

          I thought the author did an excellent job of portraying mental illness and how it affects everyone – both the mentally ill person and the family. I found the book educational because I personally have no contact with a mentally ill person and the author went into great detail about how the mentally ill person thinks and why they might possibly make the decisions they do; choosing homelessness and no meds to a life where medicines leave them in a fog. I have had conversations with people who have mentioned that a love one would take their meds and once they felt better, thought they didn’t need the medicine and stopped taking it.

          God, he couldn’t focus. His thoughts pinballed around inside his head. it felt as though someone else was pulling back the plunger, sending random, rapid-fire thoughts shooting through his brain. He wasn’t the person playing the game. Did Eden tell Lydia that he had flushed his meds again?

          There were times throughout the book where the characters took on a little more depth than at other times, but overall I felt the book told a realistic story that could almost pass for a memoir. The book is a search for truth, a sense of self. It is a journey and one well worth reading.

          “You can’t save him, honey. You know that, right? There’s nothing either one of us can do.” I looked up t her. “You’re giving up.” “Maybe,” she said. “But only because he gave up first.”

          Outside the Lines shows us that life is rarely between the lines.

          He helped around the house and spent time with his daughter. He kept the angst he felt a secret from his family, just like the pills he pretended to take…so I grabbed the nearest towels and wrapped them around my father’s wrists as tightly as I could. I heard a person screaming in a guttural, anguished pitch. It took a moment to realize that person was me.”

If you found my review helpful, please consider voting "yes" on Amazon by clicking on this link. Thanks!!

Outside the Lines can be purchased on Amazon

I hope you'll join in and read our next book club selection. Our next meeting will be January 2013. The book is:

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Thanksgiving and Gratitude for you.
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  1. Good review,sounds like a good read too I think I would like it.

  2. It sounds like an interesting read that explores a difficult issue. I think it can be difficult for people to understand the mentally ill. I also have had little experience with anyone with a mental illness. I'm intrigued.


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