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 troubling 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 interplay of religion, and the legacy passed down from one generation to the next. At the same time, she reveals the redemptive power of the human spirit to love, grow, and change despite family history.
Dori Ostermiller was born in Los Angeles, a fifth-generation Californian. In her early 20′s, she abandoned her path as a pre-med student to pursue an MFA in writing at the University of Massachusetts. Since then, her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Bellingham Review, Roanoke Review, Alligator Juniper, Chautauqua Literary Journal and the Massachusetts Review. She is the recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist’s Grant and a Tobias Wolf Fiction award, and is the founder of Writers in Progress, a literary arts center in Western Massachusetts.
Her debut novel, Outside the Ordinary World, was released by MIRA in August, 2010. She lives in Northampton, with her husband and two daughters, and is at work on her second novel.
OTHER BLOG TOUR PARTICIPANTS
Monday, November 1st: Book Club Classics!
Tuesday, November 2nd: Rundpinne
Wednesday, November 3rd: Cozy Little House
Thursday, November 4th: Lit and Life
Monday, November 8th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 9th: I’m Booking It
Wednesday, November 10th: The 3 R’s Blog
Thursday, November 11th: Dolce Bellezza
Monday, November 15th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Tuesday, November 16th: Reviews from the Heart
Wednesday, November 17th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Thursday, November 18th: Starting Fresh
Friday, November 19th: Diary of an Eccentric
Wednesday, November 24th: In the Next Room
Outside the Ordinary World is a sad look at how the actions of one generation is passed onto the next one. Sylvia has memories from her childhood of her mother having an affair, and the kids were often taken along for holidays and secret rendezvous, and sworn to secrecy. It was a double life that no child should be forced to be involved in.
As Sylvia's own marriage crumbles around her, she follows in her mother's footsteps. Somehow she thinks that things are different in her own situation, and she justifies her actions to herself. A transparent look at infidelity and the affect that it has on the entire family, this story is a painful journey to find happiness and fulfillment.
To be perfectly honest, I got so frustrated with Sylvia and the choices she was making. I wanted to shake her and tell her that she should know better! I wanted to protect the children involved, and somehow spare them from the hurts, secrets and lies that were inevitable. This is a very thought-provoking novel that would be a good choice for book club discussions.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Outside the Ordinary World through TLC Book Tours, in exchange for my honest review.
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