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Inside Out Girl: A Novel Paperback – August 12, 2008


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The story of the Whitshank family told in Anne Tyler's hallmark setting—Baltimore. Read the full description | Learn more about the author
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061452955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061452956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,812,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cohen throws every imaginable obstacle at her protagonists in this thoughtful but overly dramatic tale of two single parents turned lovers. Rachel Berman, the divorced publisher of Perfect Parent magazine, is striving to be just that to her two children, rebellious teen Janie and 12-year-old Dustin. Len Bean, a widowed lawyer, meanwhile, tries to manage his daughter Olivia's learning disorder, a condition that causes her to repeatedly talk about rodents and dress inappropriately. When Rachel and Len serendipitously meet, they hit it off. Soon their lives and those of their children become intertwined, much to Janie and Dustin's dismay. As tension builds for the children, a secret from Rachel's past comes to the forefront, and Len receives bad news at the doctor's office. Regret, rejection and worry abound as the plot touches on the standard societal/familial issues (divorce, teenage sexuality, adoption), and Rachel fights to create her own legacy at work. Cohen's language is pleasant and the characters relatable, but the plot is so obvious that the narrative feels like a quirky soap opera. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—This compelling, insightful story is surprisingly lighthearted in spite of several heavy themes. Rachel Berman is raising her 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son by herself, after a divorce. She's also working hard to keep her father's magazine, Perfect Parent, financially afloat. Len Bean, an attorney, is raising his 10-year-old special-needs daughter alone; his wife was killed in a traffic accident when their daughter was five. The three children attend the same school, where Olivia Bean is known as "Inside Out Girl" because of her strange dress and overreadiness to hug, not to mention her love of data about rats. Soon after Rachel and Len meet, and then begin dating, Len discovers that he has a fatal brain tumor; finding a home for Olivia after his eventual death coincides with Rachel's longing to know what became of the daughter she bore as a teen and surrendered for adoption. Meanwhile, Rachel's daughter is struggling with her passionate crush on the girl next door. Characters are complete, credible, and engaging. Olivia and her nonverbal learning disorder are presented cogently and without stereotyping either her personality or the responses that she draws from kids and adults. This is a romance novel worthy of readers' time.—Francisca Goldsmith, Halifax Public Libraries, Nova Scotia
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

It is a beautiful story with wonderful characters.
J. Lindsay Kolari
Rachel's kids can't believe their mother is dating the father of the weirdest kid in school, the one they call Inside Out Girl.
Alice Berger
There is a wonderful innocence and naivete about this child that makes us ache to be more real.
Zinta Aistars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Marisa95 on August 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Hello! I have Nonverbal Learning Disorder. The character Olivia is supposed to have NLD but it was very misleading. The majority of the actions and symptoms she had were not relevant to NLD characteristics at all. NLD is very similar to Aspergers Syndrome but it is not an intellectual disability. It is a disability that is caused by damage to the white matter in our brain giving us defecits in spatial awareness, excecutive functioning defecits, social skills difficulties, academic struggles in math and motor/gross coordination difficulties. We can fully understand the meaning of death and we can understand other people's feelings but we need to be told verbally. We are not clueless. We can sense that something is wrong and went wrong and then we just ask. after an explanation we get it. We cannot understand social cues very well, but all we need is some guidance. We do get bullied for being different though. There is SO much more to NLD than the inaccurate descriptions in this book. Olivia seemed more autistic or mentally challenged than NLD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patry Francis on August 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Len Bean and Rachel Berman are two attractive single parents, doing their best to balance high-powered careers and the needs of their children when they meet in the breakdown lane of the highway. (For once, it's the woman who plays hero, since Len has no idea how to change a tire.) What follows is an old fashioned love story--but not the one I expected. Though I was utterly charmed by Len's devotion to his daughter and Rachel's tendency to apologize for things that aren't her fault, it was the children who stole my heart. Olivia, who loves rodents and her father beyond reason is one of those unforgettable child characters whose triumphs and heartbreaks will sear you forever.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Lindsay Kolari on August 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
I loved this book! It is a beautiful story with wonderful characters. I loved Olivia, a quirky and adorable mix of innocence and heart breaking vulnerability. I loved the relationship between Len and his daughter Olivia. A moving story and a great read from cover to cover.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I got this book for free awhile ago but didn't start reading it until recently. I really loved loved it, the characters seemed very real to me but I would have liked to hear more about Olivia's father Len. He seemed liked he was trying the best he could to raise his daughter Olivia after his wife passed away and that he really should have considered getting Olivia into a special school to help her with her problems better. He just gave in to Olivia too much because he didn't want to argue and he didn't know how to handle her. You really have to admire Rachel for deciding to take over the care of Olivia after Len passes away.

It made me sad when you find out about Olivia's father only making it a few more years. Olivia the main character in this book is a sweet little girl who is quite intelligent especially when it comes to her love of rats and I never was quite sure why all the kids at school were so mean to her, she's perfectly intelligent and sweet she just has a nonverbal disorder so she has trouble communicating and has to have things a certain way much like with autistic children. She doesn't seem to notice a lot of times that what she does is considered "weird" by others or that she's being made fun of, which seems like a good thing. It really goes to show you how mean kids really can be and how you need to give people a chance.

I didn't care for Rachel's kids though, they were spoiled little brats that wanted nothing to do with Olivia because she was labeled "inside out girl" by the kids at school and was weird.
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Format: Paperback
I love when I am so taken by a book's characters and plot that despite my better efforts to put it down I find my mind keeps drifting back to the book and my desire to find out what will happen. This book easily did it to me.

When the book opens Len and Rachel are single parents brought together over a flat tire. Each is dealing with his or her own challenge. For Len it's a child with a learning ability who requires his constant attention and protection. For Rachel it's managing a struggling magazine once run by her father while parenting two children. What follows is not a typical love story, but one with a very real quality that forces them to confront a secret from the past as well as the uncertainty of the future. The story of single parents finding love again is not new, but Cohen tells it in such a way that it is fresh and compelling at every turn.

Overall I could not recommend this book more highly. It is one of the most compelling I have read in a long time. Much of this is due to the characters that Cohen creates. She does a beautiful job of bringing them to life with realistic dialogue, emotional inner feelings, and interesting scenes. By the end of it I had really fallen in love with each character. She manages to make them seem as complex as real people and in this you cannot help but root for each one of them. She also succeeds at throwing in enough twists and turns to keep the book interesting while doing a great job of wrapping up various story lines. In reading her book I found myself reminded of My Sister's Keeper: A Novel because she deals with emotional issues in a way that is thought provoking.

Overall this is an excellent read and will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates well developed characters and an emotional story with interesting twists and turns. I highly recommend it.
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Inside Out Girl: A Novel
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