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Outside the Lines    by Amy Hatvany order for
Outside the Lines
by Amy Hatvany
Order:  USA  Can
Washington Square, 2012 (2012)
Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

If you're like me, you have often wondered about those homeless who stand at street corners with their signs or lie in doorways and parks with their belongings stuffed into shopping carts. Why don't they take advantage of the help that is around and offered? In Outside the Lines, Amy Hatvany has done an admirable job of allowing us to see things from the homeless person's point of view - and believe me, it challenges many of our usual perceptions.

Eden's father, though loving toward his daughter, has been in and out of their home, always battling his demons and refusing to take his medicines until finally one day he just leaves. For twenty years she tries to get on with her life, but her father is always on her mind. Finally, she decides to find him and starts volunteering in a shelter for the homeless. Here she learns much - about those who 'live outside the lines of society' - and about herself.

Eden stands for all of us. We want to fix what is wrong with these people so they can start living the way we think they should live. She ends up understanding something different, that it is all about choices. Everyone chooses how they live their life, and we are not being helpful by making people feel broken just because their lives do not meet our standards. Eden learns to understand this, but can she apply it to her father? When it is our loved ones whom we must support, it is not so easy. This story has quite a punch.

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