Outside the Lines
When Eden was ten years old she found her father, David, bleeding on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents’ divorce, and David all butvanished from Eden’s life.
Twenty years later, Eden runsa successful catering company and dreams of opening a restaurant. Since childhood, she has heard from her father only rarely, just enough to know that he’s been living on the streets and struggling with mental illness. But lately there has beenno word at all. After a series of failed romantic relationships and a health scare from her mother, Eden decides it’s time to find her father, to forgive him at last, and move forward with her own life. Her search takes her to a downtown Seattle homeless shelter, and to Jack Baker, its handsome and charming director. Jack convinces Eden to volunteer her skills as a professional chef with the shelter. In return, he helps her in her quest.
As the connection between Eden and Jack grows stronger, and their investigation brings them closer to David, Eden must come to terms with her true emotions, the secrets her mother has kept from her, and the painful question of whether her father, after all these years, even wants to be found. The result is an emotionally rich and honest novel about making peace with the past—and embracing the future.
Reading Group Guide
Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. It’s become a bit of a cliché that great artistry can’t exist without some madness. Do you agree with this?
2. Though much is written in women’s fiction about relationships between mothers and daughters, there is less emphasis on those bonds between fathers and daughters. In your opinion, how are they different, and how does a girl’s relationship with her father impact how she develops as a woman?
3. Eden recalls that for years when friends asked about her father, “I’d make up some story of how he lived in New York and traveled the globe looking for inspiration. It wasn’t like he would come back to prove me wrong. And after all, considering the ugliness of the truth, it’s not like anyone could blame me for wanting to lie.” Why do you think Eden lies? Is it because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, or is there something else at work? What role does shame play in abandonment?
4. How did the alternating perspectives of Eden and D see more