DOING TIME OUTSIDE
by Ginnah Howard
Compelling, gritty and funny, DOING TIME OUTSIDE travels the back roads of family life to better understand what it means to be tied by blood and love to the world of mental illness, addiction and incarceration. Through compassion for her characters and the bouyancy of her voice, Howard gives us a novel with a generous and intelligent heart.
“Doing Time Outside refers to the painful and difficult period of time spent by a family member or friend of a person incarcerated in a correctional facility. .. Ms. Howard carves a slice of time out of the Morletti family’s world. Each individual—mother, son, and daughter—is in some way damaged; each individual is in some way brimming with resilience…(The author) writes as if she’s creating a mosaic—laying down each piece of stone as snippets from life—each snippet being told from a different point of view until an image of a family is slowly created. The final image isn’t always pretty, but it’s intriguing and charming, and formed with humor and love. .. Doing Time Outside is an emotional and engaging slice of life. It’s well worth doing time with this family.” Karen Winter Schwartz, NY Journal of Books, September 16, 2013. http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/review/doing-time-outside
“I’ve recently been reminded that I spoke in my column a while ago about a first novel, “Night Navigation” by Hudson Valley denizen, Ginnah Howard, who “taught English for 27 years before the river air inspired her to become a writer.” She reminded me of this when she sent me her new novel, “Doing Time Outside” (Standing Stone Books, Syracuse, New York, $17), a stand-alone sequel to her first novel. A three-generational family “welcomes” home a “problem” boy from jail. His mother, Carla, promises bail if he behaves. His grandmother, Angela, wants to find him the best lawyer. And his sister, Tess, works hard at her summer internship working with chimpanzees, thinking they “might be a key to understanding some of the strange behavior of her own family” – and hoping her work will lead to a job at a faraway zoo. Will Rudy make it? He gets out of jail, finds a sort-of-job, but his family’s constant surveillance drives him bats. What will the next phone call bring in the way of news? Ginnah Howard will be making appearances in the Hudson Valley soon; we’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, give this book a whirl. It’s a fine story.” Ann La Farge, Hudson Valley News