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Outside the Lines

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  5,827 ratings  ·  616 reviews
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 i
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by Washington Square Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  5,827 ratings  ·  616 reviews

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Jul 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Like my sister, Deanne, I wish I could rate books in half rather than whole stars. This book was an okay plus. I liked it fine. On the "okay" side, it definitely had characteristics of simplistic chick lit with the all "too good to be true" romance between Eden, the damsel in distress, and Jack, her knight in shining armor. All of their banter made me want to say, "oh, please", or as my sister, Donna, used to say, "Spare me". I kept waiting for Jack's dark side to come through. If it had, the no ...more
Eden West loved her father with a deep intensity; the emotional highs and lows were a part of her life, but when David West was on a high he was an incredibly fun person to be with. He was an extremely talented artist; he also taught Eden to cook – she was standing on a stool helping her dad to whisk eggs at three years of age. Eden’s Mum, Lydia was the stability of the household. But as Eden grew up and her father’s mental instability worsened, Lydia found it harder and harder to overlook the d ...more
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star-books
David West experiences the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. At his best he is a fun filled and loving husband and father. His greatest creation is his daughter, Eden, who he teaches to cook, plant flowers in what they affectionately call 'The Garden of Eden' and paint beautiful pictures of her. But at his worse the demons in his head turn him into someone totally different, capable of violence, infidelity and unpredictable behaviour. Refusing to take his meds because it stifles his creat ...more
Diane S ☔
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another emotionally wrought novel by Hatvany. Ten year old Eden watches her father give in to his mental illness, not willing to take the medications that make him feel drained and artistically incapable, he does the only think he thinks he can do to quiet the monsters. At the age of thirty, she tries to find the father she loved and thought abandoned her. Told in alternate voices, Eden's and her dad's, we trace this journey, also hearing in his own words how his illness made him unable to live ...more
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As children we search for absolutes, black or white, but no gray. But most of our lives are spent in the gray area, and we soon learn to search out our own truths with compassion and tolerance. “Outside The Lines” is one of the most compassionate, honest books I’ve read in a long time.

Amy Hatvany takes on the huge subject of mental illness in her second novel. The story of a father and daughter, David and Eden, is told by alternating between their two points of view. The novel begins with Eden
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Review Copy Provided by Author

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
Celeste Noelani McLean
Ultimately disappointing.

The premise is solid and exciting, and Amy Hatvany clearly has the chops to tackle this subject matter; she handles the characters of David and young Eden with beauty and grace. The treatment of present day Eden, however, feels like it belongs in a completely different book of lesser quality. The build up of David and young Eden feel organic and authentic. While heavy handed, even the cooking scenes seemed to fit somehow. Without that feel of authenticity, the present d
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
With it's intimate portrait of mental illness, Outside The Lines is a compelling and thought provoking novel. Eden was just ten when she last saw her father. Her childhood was marred by his strange behaviour as he battled an undiagnosed mental illness, refusing the medication that stabilised his mood but silenced his creative muse. Now in her thirties, triggered by her mothers bout with cancer, Eden is searching for her father, desperate to reconnect and determined to save him.

Told in chapters t
T. Greenwood
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Amy is a friend of mine, and I have been reading her novels for years now. She consistently delivers flawed but lovable protagonists who struggle with credible and meaningful issues, and her latest, Outside the Lines, is no exception. This novel tells the story of Eden West, a young woman whose artist father is waging a losing battle with mental illness and substance abuse. When she is ten years old, her father's failed suicide attempt ends in her parents' divorce and his departure from her life ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was absolutely heartbreaking; OUTSIDE THE LINES is an intimate insight into the complexities of father/daughter relationships, particularly when said parent is mentally ill. Hatvany touches upon the ups & downs of enduring this- sometimes gentle, always frank, this destroyed me emotionally. But it was so worth it.

Told in alternating POVs from Eden & her father, David, both in the present & the past, LINES does a fantastic job showcasing a woman's journey into coming to terms with accepting
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you had a parent that was constantly unreliable and then one day disappears altogether, would you spend your precious time searching for him? This is exactly what Eden does, and ends up encountering on the way much more than she ever expected to.

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, jus
Laura Kay Bolin
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing

There is a hole in Eden West’s heart, an empty spot aching to be filled with the love of her father. Growing up Eden had loved and adored her father, David. She had been the apple of David’s eye…his reason-- his hope in his dark world of depression and bipolar. Twenty years have gone by since that fateful day when David left her, abandoned her…without as much as a word. After her mother battles breast cancer, Eden realizes she needs to find him. She begins
Judy D Collins
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my third book by Amy Hatvany, and each one of them is sooooo deserving of 5 stars+. I am delighted I found this author through my reading of Sarah Pekkanen’s books (another one of my favorites)!

I could not put “Outside the Lines” down- Amy did an outstanding job of capturing the experience of mental illness, with the alternating perspectives of David (father) and Eden (daughter), as well as moving back and forth in time. It gave much insight and depth to each of the characters, feeling
Allie Smith
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-women
4.5 stars. This was a really good story. Heartbreaking, but satisfying. Oh, the father daughter relationship….so important and so complicated. The author addresses the possibility that a woman’s relationship with her father, lays the foundation for all future relationships with the opposite sex. Sounds plausible. But if the relationship was messed up – look out.
Eden adored her father, and her father, David, adored her. David, however, suffered from bi-polar disorder. As a little girl, Eden did e
Liz Laughlin
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
By far the best book I have EVER EVER EVER read.

Amy Hatvany, I congratulate you, for everything. You truly impacted my life, and as an aspiring author, I know exactly what to aim for. This is the kind of book that you could just read over and over. I will admit, I'm not an easy critic. I know what I want in a book and seek to find it. This made me cry. The way she outlines father and daughter relationship is so true and yet so sad. We keep rooting for her dad to pull through, to just pick up the
Joni Cormier
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Another book that causes you to pause and question beliefs, this time about mental illness, the homeless and the impacts on family and individuals. The characters were well developed, the story believable and the ending was well done. This is my second Amy Hatvany book and I look forward to more.
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Throughout Eden West's childhood, she fiercely loved her father David, with whom she had a special bond. He taught her to cook, the two of them planted a garden together that they dubbed The Garden of Eden, his paintings often featured Eden, and the special moments between them were like treasures. Especially since, for all of their years together, David also struggled with mental illness: an excruciatingly debilitating mood disorder that defined his interior world through voices, confusing thou ...more
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
A touching story about the lost relationship between a father and daughter that is nicely told between shifting narratives and time frames.

When Eden is 10 her father, David, tries to commit suicide and she finds him -- what could be worse on her already delicate psyche? The narrative of David was by far my favourite. His overwhelming sense of worthlessness was brilliantly brought to life through Ms Hatvany's words. His longing to just be; his own complete and utter loss as to why he can't get i
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amy Hatvany's latest novel, Outside the Lines, provides a beautiful insight into mental illness - both from the perspective of the person struggling with the disease and those around them.

Eden idolised her father and loved to hear the story of how her parents - her conservative mother Lydia and eccentric (and artistic) father David - met.

However David's eccentricity turned out to be something else. Until she's 10 Eden's childhood roller-coasters along with her father's manic / depressive moods.

Jan 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pt, library
Isn’t it ironic? ♬♬♬

I'm not the right person to talk about the central figure of the book, so I’ll just stick to the story. It wasn’t particularly captivating or emotional but it was a well told and developed story. The only part that didn’t feel entirely right was the end. After so much build-up, the reunion was short-lived, so it felt somewhat undervalued. The same emphasis given to Eden’s search should’ve been put into her acceptance, which happens almost overnight. Jack’s perfection could’ve
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I. could. not. put. this. book. down.

I might be more fascinated than most when it comes to "the human mind." The ability to think is amazing...and something people just take for granted. So a story that involves mental illness is interesting by itself. The author gave this character a real voice...not just narrative about what others think regarding this character...but she describes the character's actual thoughts and struggles. Hooked.

The story was believable, heartbreaking, and hopeful. I wa
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was good, don't get me wrong, I just felt there was a lot missing. As in, the meat of the story was sort of washed out with a bunch of extraneous stuff that mattered very little to the heart of the matter. The story of David's mental illness and Eden's struggle to find him and deal with her childhood was the story that I cared most about... that story was well told and very sad. Sometimes, the mentally ill are beyond help or rather, they are beyond fixing. That part of the story was wh ...more
Shannon Dyer
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Round up to 4.5 stars. Incredibly painful but enlightening. A powerful testimony to the harm good intentions can do. For some, living outside the lines of society really is best, even if it hurts those who love these people. Eden's love for her father is plain to see, but equally plain is his inability to conform. His demons are too strong. Sometimes, the best way to show love is to let go, even if it's a heartbreaking process. ...more
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Expertly done! The novel divides your time between a father struggling with mental illness and the daughter he walked away from, both then and now. Two voices, two time periods, and never a misstep. Ms. Hatvany not only kept my attention, but had me rooting for both characters to find happiness. Great read!
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star-rating
This was a very easy book to read. I love the fact that it was told from the view point of both Eden and her father David and went back and forth from 20 yrs prior and present day. It made the story flow while giving readers a full understanding of the complications in their relationship. I reaaly enjoyed it.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
1/2 way through. Story of mental illness at it's worst! Interesting book!

Finished reading-- worth reading. If we listen carefully through the book we can learn a bit about dealing with the mentally ill. So many times we expect them to magically reside in our world, when it is impossible. Good read!
May contain possible **spoilers**

And so, artist David West decides to live “outside the lines” of society, which suits him just fine. That’s the topic that author, Amy Hatvany portrays throughout her most recent novel, Outside the Lines. In the beginning of the novel, David lives in a surburban neighborhood with his wife, Lydia, and young daughter, Eden, painting his pictures while also struggling to keep his demons at bay. The novel alternates between two different viewpoints, David’s and Eden’
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, feel-good, warm yet honest look at mental illness and one family's resilient grappling with their loved one's break with reality. Hopeful and refreshing read. I look forward to reading more by this author. ...more
Brooke Sillaby
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: disability
Round up to 4.5 stars.
Melanie Goodman
The last time Eden saw her father there was blood everywhere. At ten years old, Eden was familiar with her father’s ups and downs. Her life was shaped by whether or not he chose to take his medication. He could be playful, creative, and charismatic, or he could be sullen, withdrawn, and moody. All the same, he was her father, and despite the pain of listening her parents’ arguments about his mental illness and lack of responsibility, she loved him. And she was not prepared to see his nearly life ...more
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Amy Hatvany was born in Seattle, WA in 1972, the youngest of three children. She graduated from Western Washington University in 1994 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 ...more

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