Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Review: Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Eden knew at an early age that her father was different but she loved him wholeheartedly and tried her best to keep him happy. Her mother was her constant parent; she was the one to be trusted, her father was impulsive and unreliable. When Eden was ten years old, she came home to find the bathroom mirror shattered and her father bleeding out on the bathroom floor, attempting to take his own life. Eden was distraught and called emergence services. Her mother finally had enough, love was not enough for David, she filed divorce papers and David was served while institutionalized. Eden is now thirty, a successful chef and her father is still on her mind. She received two letters from her father since he was taken away, and Eden was too angry to respond. Eden stood by her father through thick and thin until he was taken away from her. Initially, she resented her mother, and then she became angry that her father would not try and contact her, now she is ready to forgive but doesn’t know where to find him. Eden can’t forget the bond that she had with her father, even when his illness took over his thoughts, she knew he loved her. He loved her the only way he knew how. He was stuck between voices in his head, or medication that left him fuzzy. He had no escape, and could only suppress his illness for a limited time. She wonders if her father is dead or alive, has he been properly medicated or is he living on the streets. Eden has so many questions, and begins to seek answers.
Outside the Lines is an amazing, heart-wrenching novel. Mental illness is not an easy topic, this is probably not a book that I would normally pick up, but I loved Hatvany’s first novel Best Kept Secret and wanted to see if I would enjoy this one as well. I came away from this novel thinking, there is more than one way to love someone. Sometimes you need to step back, and understand that some issues are not just black or white. Hatvany does an astounding job portraying mental illness, and the impact is has on everyone.
Amy Hatvany gives a voice to all parties involved. The characters come alive, and their stories are so real and unbiased. Eden is the primary narrator of the story, but readers also peak into David’s troubled mind. It’s terrifying to get a glimpse of David’s mine, and not easy to write him off as a horrible father. Readers understand that David loves his daughter, he struggles to get better but ultimately he can’t control himself. Her mother is stuck between loving her husband, wanting to do what’s best for him, but her daughter deserves a normal childhood. Love can not cure David, as much as they both want that to be enough, it isn’t.
I will warn you, don’t pick up this book if you only have ten minutes to spare because you will not want to put the book down. Outside the Lines is much more than a good read, it is a thought provoking book that will stay with you long after you close the pages. I can’t recommend this book enough!