Outside The Ordinary World was a book I spotted while browsing at the book store. I hate buying trade paperbacks because of their price, so I jotted down the name and looked to see if my library had it. Luckily, the did. I wasn't overly impressed with the book though and give it a B-.
Sylvia Sandon is at a crossroads in her life. A wife and mother of two daughters, she and her city-planner husband grapple with the escalating renovation of their antique farmhouse--a situation that mirrors the disarray in Sylvia's life. Facing a failing marriage and a famished career as an art teacher, Sylvia finds herself suddenly powerless to the allure of Tai Rosen, the father of her most difficult art student. As their passion ignites, Sylvia is forced to examine her past, and the seeds of betrayal that were sown decades earlier by her mother's secret life. Eloquently written and deeply thought-provoking, Ostermiller's OUTSIDE THE ORDINARY WORLD crosses many years and miles--from the California brushfires in the 1970s to New England during the first half of this decade. Raised Seventh Day Adventist, Sylvia must reconcile the conflicting values exhibited by her parents--a mother involved in an extramarital affair and a father who was emotionally distant and abusive--while coming to terms with her own disturbing role in her family's dissolution and father's tragic death. While infidelity is a subject often explored in fiction, Ostermiller shines a razor-sharp lens on the gray areas surrounding betrayal, the complex interplay of religion, and the powerful legacy passed down from one generation to the next. At the same time, she reveals the redemptive power of the human spirit to love, transform, and forgive despite family history.
I really disliked Sylvia. Even know, a week after finishing the book, I still don't like her- at all! I thought she was selfish and only thought of herself for most of the book. I did like the way the story was told, though, from the 1970s when Sylvia was growing up, to present day when she is a mom of two. It took me awhile to finish this book and there just wasn't much to keep my attention for a lot of the time, so I was disappointed. I thought it could have been done in a much better way.