Outside the Lines
Author: Amy Hatvany
Review Copy Provided by Author
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.
I rarely write a review for a book as soon as I finish it because I want to let my thoughts sit and mold in my mind for a few days. So i’m actually not sure why I am writing this review right now – but it just feels like I need to write about it. Maybe it is just me, but there seem to be so few fiction books that deal with mental illness as a topic, that when I find one I want to savor it. Which I did with Outside the Lines. Normally a book of its length would take me 2-3 days to read – but I purposely dragged it out because I was afraid of what the outcome was going to be. I felt like the author was setting me up for some kind of heart-break. But don’t worry, no spoilers here.
I really liked how the author was able to walk the line between sappy happy go lucky/preachy at times, and in depth makes you think writing. I had so many questions come up as I was reading – how did the title relate (this is actually explained); why do we as a society treat people with mental illness the way that we do (I am of a firm belief that traditional medicine isn’t the be-all, end-all that it is purported to be) and how does a family try to have a “normal” life (if that is the correct word) when there is that stigma of mental illness hanging over their heads.
While I often find flash-backs a harder story-telling method to use, in this instance it worked, and it was interesting seeing how the flash-backs progressed through time – until they met up with the current time-line. The ending was not all that unexpected – I had kind of hoped for a miracle, but at the same time, I like how it ended, because it wasn’t perfect. The book would have totally jumped the sharked, if everything that been all tied up in a pretty pink ribbon. I was left with questions and thoughts – which likely are going to keep me intrigued in the near future. I also added the other 2 books by the author to my massive to-be-read pile. Overall, I would give Outside the Lines, a strong 4 stars.