Outside the Ordinary World

Outside the Ordinary World 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 mir

  • Title: Outside the Ordinary World
  • Author: Dori Ostermiller
  • ISBN: 9780778328896
  • Page: 337
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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, thSylvia 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.

    One thought on “Outside the Ordinary World”

    1. I read Dori Ostermiller's novel in two sittings--and I am not a particularly fast reader. What made it so compelling for me has to do with the way in which Ostermiller has created a narrator whose own story, occurring in the new millenium, begins to mirror (rather against her will) that of her mother thirty years prior. Yes, the pivotal moments in the lives of this mother and daughter do involve extramarital affairs. But as the title of the novel indicates, the real crucible for both women, as t [...]

    2. Let me tell you why I love this book. Have you noticed the current trend in fiction these days – I have, I buy them for a living –many of the popular ones tell good stories, and more often than not they feature protagonists who are supernatural or canine or both. They are engrossing, for the length of time it takes to read them, but they lack an individual persona like a preteen who relinquishes her stunning uniqueness for the false safety of a peer identity. “Outside the Ordinary World” [...]

    3. Outside the Ordinary World is a gripping page-turner; a book that grabs you from the very first pages and doesn’t let go. It’s a book about the legacy of betrayal and there’s not a single false or sanctimonious note to be found. Have I mentioned it’s very, very good?The book is divided into two narratives; the first takes place in the mid-70s when the protagonist, Sylvie, is only 12 years old. Her mother is “perfect”, the kind of mom who “wallpapered the insides of her silverware d [...]

    4. My roommate and I were both psychology majors. She was working on a paper about infidelity and she asked me if I thought I could stay with a husband how had cheated on me. My answer was instantaneous. Of course not. No hesitation. The more we talked, however, the more I began to wonder. I still doubt I could stay in a relationship with someone who had broken my trust in that way, but I eventually came to see that it wasn't black and white. And you really never can know what you would do unless y [...]

    5. My friend Meredith gave me this book, written by a friend of hers. I have been hungry for this kind of voice in books all my life. I'm out of my earlier phase of only reading women writers, and I read lots of books by men again, but somehow when a contemporary woman writes deeply and honestly w/o any hint of aspiring to the canonical standard - I don't really know how to say it - anyway I read it almost in one sitting. It touches gently but surely on all the tender places of families and relatio [...]

    6. Beautifully written and quietly spellbinding, OUTSIDE THE ORDINARY WORLD chronicles the heartbreaking deconstruction of an American family. Dori Ostermiller skillfully melds past and present through the eyes of young Sylvie who had to bear witness to her parents’ fallibility and adult Sylvia who has to come to terms with her own choices as a wife and mother. Ostermiller’s compelling debut novel is a story of love, regret, and forgiveness that will linger with readers well after the final pag [...]

    7. Dori Ostermiller’s debut novel Outside the Ordinary World has already been received with high critical acclaim in the US, that, along with the beautiful cover and intriguing family drama described in the synopsis had me very excited to read this one and straight from the beginning I could see what all the fuss was about. Dori’s writing grips you from the start, the beautiful imagery wrapping itself around you like a blanket. Despite Outside the Ordinary World being a debut it’s clear that [...]

    8. There are so many things I love about this novel. Like Sylvia's separate but echoing stories of her childhood and her adulthood, which are beautifully blended and woven together. And like Ostermiller's descriptions of intense moments caught in time - young Sylvie's mother curled in the patch of sunlight on the rug in the empty yellow room. I think the real genius of this book is the way the author captures the complexity of family life - the parallel, non-intersecting domestic conversations, the [...]

    9. This is turning out to be a good choice given I just grabbed it at the library based on a review. It follows a mother and daughter, first in the 1970s and then in present day. Both are unfaithful in their marriages but somehow the book manages to be un-judgmental enough that you end up able to focus on the women, their choices, lives and so on, without being entirely focused on 'the cheating'.Just finished--def. worth reading. The female characters are flawed and vacilate between being likeable [...]

    10. I was recently in Lassen Volcanic Park. Had to hike in through a snow filled road. Hilly drifts of 3 to 6 feet. Slippery and occasionally unstable (falling through a foot or two of snow-unstable). It was hard hiking for me.n the up and down, probably four miles of this. Slow, painful going. My son and husband carried the packs after the first half mile. And they both also hauled the food on a sled. All this to say, I sacrificed clothes for books. My husband had ten times more articles of clothin [...]

    11. I liked this book a lot. Dori Ostermiller has done an exceptional job creating a lattice work of relationships past and present, west coast and east coast, durable and ephemeral . The writing style is arresting, poetic, and so specific in its use of imagery and metaphor that I felt at times like I was reading a painting, a painting that Sylvia Sandon had meticulously created to illustrate and to make sense of the shifting narratives of her life. Another exceptional element of Ostermiller's novel [...]

    12. I won this book through First Reads. I dont normally read books in this genre but something made me want to read it. I think it was the cover that drew me to wanting it sooo badly, I was intreaged to find out more about it. I am glad that I read this book, but wouldn't say it was one of my favourite reads of the year. I did though found myself unable to put it down once I was reading it but not really thinking about it when I wasnt. Dori Ostermiller created characters with depth and life. I like [...]

    13. The year is 2005, and Sylvia is married with two daughters. For the last 7 years, Sylvia and her husband Nathan along with the girls have spent their weekends working on their "dream home", an old farmhouse, which that they bought at auction and hoped to have totally renovated within a year. The excitement of their marriage is gone, the renovations are not going well, the money is running out and to make matters worse, Sylvia's carreer as an artist is at a standstill. Flash back 30 years, twelve [...]

    14. Told in chapters that alternate between Sylvia the adult and Sylvia the child, Ostermiller has crafted a novel that twice demonstrates the impact of infidelity. Sylvia and her older sister, Ali, live with a father who is often distant and cruel, and a weak mother with a long-term "boyfriend" who is part of the fabric of their lives. As an adult, Sylvia repeats what she learned as a child and pursues an intimate relationship at the expense of her own marriage and children. While Sylvia's mother c [...]

    15. I bought this one a few years ago as I strolled through B & N. I let it sit on my bookshelf for too long. I loved this story told in alternating generations but always from Sylvia's point-of-view. She shares her current family struggles interspersed with her childhood. Through the back and forth we see how childhood lessons become adult behavior. Very well done.

    16. Fine light reading for a vacation, though consuming an entire book about infidelity made me a little angry.

    17. I loved the way this book was writtengoing back and forth from Sylvie's past to present. A beautifully written story that grabs you and holds on.

    18. This was a rec from . I really liked it. Starts with mom having an affair and her kids know, but not her husband, the mom is less than ideal. The book flashes back and forth through time to childhood with cheating mom, to present where narr cheats too. Then her older daughter knows and says little, it is history repeating itself. The moms husband dies and she ends up with the affair guy. The father was abusive and at one point mom asked child what she should do. Affair guy has a farm with horses [...]

    19. 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 [...]

    20. A strong story that goes back and forth between the protagonist's childhood and present day with eerie similarities. The things that broke apart one family threaten to break apart another one in the exact same manner. I was surprised how well the book told a linear story while bouncing back and forth between times every chapter, but it laid down clues and necessary information in just such a way that the reader got all they needed and nothing more. A good read.

    21. This story held my attention and I liked the flipping back from the 70s to the 2000s as a way of revealing the story. There are some insightful bits of writing with beautifully turned phrases, and the theme is relevant: we do look back and blame until we can come to terms with our past and until we learn to forgive, it continues to influence us in all sorts of ways.

    22. Although the topic of marital infidelity is not something that I would normally choose to read about, the book was well written, and the bigger issue of how our mother's lives affect their daughters was of great interest. Dori Ostermiller is a talented writer and the book was enjoyable.

    23. Wow. Great book! I loved the flashbacks to Sylvia's childhhod, and watching how her past influenced her current decisions. Well-written and thought provoking. I loved it!

    24. "Maybe, then, life is a series of reenactments- chasing down new frames for the stories that stalk us."Sylvia swore she'd never be like her mother, but as Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller shows, some ghosts are too strong to hide from forever. The novel alternates between Sylvia's childhood, taking place in in the late sixties to mid seventies, to her life as a mother of two and her affair with the father of one of her students from 2004-2005.I did find Sylvia's lover, Tai, to lack [...]

    25. Dori Ostermiller’s debut novel, Outside the Ordinary World, covers a lot of ground. It’'s the engrossing history of a complex family, an examination of marriage and its challenges, and a reflection on how women may find themselves becoming their own mothers, despite every effort not to.Moving back and forth, in alternating chapters, over the 30 years between the mid-1970’s and the present day and from California to Massachusetts, Ostermiller follows the parallels and differences between the d [...]

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