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Outside The Ordinary World    by Dori Ostermiller order for
Outside The Ordinary World
by Dori Ostermiller
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2010 (2010)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Sylvia Sandon is a complicated woman. As a young girl, she kept secrets no child should have to know. She grew up in California in the seventies with her parents and older sister. Her mother Elaine was unhappy in her marriage, and her father, a doctor, had problems controlling his anger. Sylvia resented her mother's religious beliefs and how she looked outside her marriage for fulfillment. Now Sylvia is worried that she is following in her mother's footsteps.

Sylvia is married to Nathan and has two young daughters of her own. Nathan is a good man and father, but over the years Sylvia feels they have drifted apart. Nathan is working on remodeling their dream home in the country, but Sylvia is bored with their sexless marriage. Sylvia owns an art gallery and teaches classes in the evenings. She meets Tai, father to one of her students. Tai is interested in Sylvia and this stirs up feelings she thought were long gone. Now she is questioning whether she should begin an affair with Tai.

Sylvia thinks back on her childhood and how she was caught up in her mother's affairs, and how the lies and deceit destroyed the family. She recalls her father's bouts of rage and the tragedy that resulted from it. Can she put her daughters through the very thing that robbed her of her childhood, or will she have the strength to break the cycle and hold on to what is most important to her?

Outside The Ordinary World goes back and forth between Sylvia in the present, and Elaine in the past. It is a great character study that leans to the dark side.

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