Thursday, July 19, 2012

'Outside the Lines' is a good place to be

Exploring mental health and abandonment issues might not be the first things that come to mind when you're looking for a good summer read. But Amy Hatvany's "Outside the Lines" made for a satisfying summer afternoon.

I admit I snagged it off the new fiction shelf at Mentor Public Library because it boasted a recommendation from Caroline Leavitt on the cover. I loved her "Pictures of You" so I hoped she wouldn't steer me wrong.

She didn't.

Hatvany succeeds not only in telling the story of Eden West's quest to find her mentally ill father from two different points of view (hers and her father's) but also in leaping from past to present and back again.

That father-daughter relationship - more complicated than most - is explored in heartwrenching fashion, as this encounter between David and 10-year-old Eden shows:
"David pulled the covers over his head, burrowing deep into the musty pillow. He stank, but he didn't care. His skin felt oily and thick, coated by his own neglect. It was gratifying, somehow, to smell as bad as he felt.
Eden was quite, but he could feel her still standing outside, waiting for him. She would leave soon, when he didn't answer her call. But even when she returned to the house he knew he would feel her. Her longing was enough to push through any barrier. It wrapped its tentacles around his neck, desperate to extract what he feared he would never be able to give."
I wanted Eden to find her father again all these years later and the story could have gone all Lifetime movie on me and I would have been happy.

But Hatvany remains true to her characters and delivers a solid ending that does not disappoint.

I'll be checking out her other novels: "Best Kept Secret," "The Language of Sisters" and "The Kind of Love that Saves You." And I'll be looking for more recommendations from Leavitt.

If you've got any must-reads to share, comment or tweet me!

See you in the stacks.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home