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The Outcast by Sadie Jones

The Outcast (2008)

by Sadie Jones

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,087557,663 (3.59)223
  1. 30
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (JeaniusOak, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These character-driven literary novels set in 20th-century England offer haunting, reflective narratives of secrets, shame and guilt. In each, children make decisions or perform actions that have unintended, tragic consequences and lasting repercussions.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
This was very disappointing. Despite some really lyrical writing, I never quite believed in these characters or what happened to them. Damaged kids and for-shit adults set in post WII London suburbs. There were several anachronisms that are still nagging at me. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
This novel is mostly set in 1950s and follows the teenage years of Lewis in a village near London, although the reader is briefly taken back to the 1940s when Lewis' father is demobbed. The novel begins in 1957 when Lewis returns from prison and then Sadie Jones takes the reader back in time to Lewis' childhood. In this period, while everything is mostly lovely and Lewis is a popular and easy-going child there is an under-current of what is to come even in this section and I found myself on the edge of my seat awaiting the horror. Lewis' mother was very loving but is also shown as an alcoholic who has to work hard at limiting her drinking and who uses alcohol as a prop. The novel seems to be really about those things that are hidden behind the doors of respectable families and how this damages young people who will become adults and continue the cycle. After his mother dies Lewis is not surprisingly unhappy, he turns in on himself and his mother and her death are never discussed. His father quickly finds a new wife, Alice, who is well-meaning but is not supported in her instinct to love Lewis and quickly adopts a neglectful attitude that appears to be the norm. The other character in the novel, Kit, is younger than Lewis; she witnesses domestic violence in her home from a young age as her father hits her mother. Later this violence moves on to Kit, the wilful child, by-passing the beautiful older sister, Tamsin. These two young people, Lewis and Kit, live in homes where everything appears to be respectable on the outside and in a community that does not want to question or look to closely.
There is much in the novel that is hard to read; the scenes of domestic abuse, self-harming and violence are graphic and challenging. Despite the horror the novel was engaging and the sympathy for Lewis, who was always the ten-year old boy who had witnessed his mother's death, was on every page. The idea that love will save the day is there in the novel and is somewhat optimistic for two young people who have been abused and neglected but as Sadie Jones sends them both away for two years at the end of the novel; one to national service the other to finishing school, it was possible to go with that optimism. ( )
  Tifi | Feb 15, 2016 |
Despite being set in the 1950s, this book has a number of modern-day themes including self-harming, alcoholism, domestic violence, child abuse and family relationships. At the age of ten Lewis watches his beloved mother drown. From that moment on he is made to feel unwanted and unloved and this has far-reaching consequences in the years to follow.

This is a rather dark and depressing book, despite its corny ending, with detailed descriptions of violence and of self-cutting. Whilst I felt sorry for Lewis there were many times when I thought he deserved how he was treated. Because of this, I never really connected with him. In fact, there weren't any characters I actually liked. A disappointing read. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
This novel definitely falls in the category of Suburban Secrets Stripped Bare! Interesting story but overall the writing was weak and uneven. Specifically found her shifting of POV ineffective and, at times, downright clumsy. It seemed somehow rushed. It was pretty ambitious (ala McCarthy, Ishiguro, McEwan), so I stuck with it. But by the end the characters had become flat and colorless.

This is a first novel, so I may check her out later down the road. ( )
  Carl_Hayes | Mar 30, 2013 |
Lewis is seven when his father comes back from the war, and it's something of a shock to him, and changes the routines he had got into with his mother. When he's ten, his mother dies (she drowned, Lewis tried to help but couldn't). It's not really talked about afterwards, Lewis returns to boarding school and his father marries Alice fairly soon afterwards. Years pass: life is about keeping up the appearances while behind the scenes Lewis, Alice and Gilbert are all unhappy and drinking too much; nearby, Gilbert's boss Dicky Carmichael is abusive towards his wife and daughters, children who were Lewis's friends when they were younger goad him into fighting and then see him as a monster. Apperances shatter when Lewis goes to prison for arson, and remain uncomfortably shaky when he is released, and it doesn't take long for everything to blow up again.

Readable but I didn't like this book, and found all the genteel misery a bit too dreary and miserable. ( )
  mari_reads | Mar 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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Sadie Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099513420, Paperback)

1957, and Lewis Aldridge is travelling back to his home in the South of England. He is straight out of jail and nineteen years old. His return will trigger the implosion not just of his family, but of a whole community. A decade earlier, his father's homecoming casts a different shape. The war is over and Gilbert has recently been demobbed. He reverts easily to suburban life - cocktails at six thirty, church on Sundays - but his wife and young son resist the stuffy routine. Lewis and his mother escape to the woods for picnics, just as they did in wartime days. Nobody is surprised that Gilbert's wife counters convention, but they are all shocked when, after one of their jaunts, Lewis comes back without her. Not far away, Kit Carmichael keeps watch. She has always understood more than most, not least from what she has been dealt by her own father's hand. Lewis's grief and burgeoning rage are all too plain, and Kit makes a private vow to help. But in her attempts to set them both free, she fails to predict the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open. As menacing as it is beautiful, The Outcast is a devastating portrait of small-town hypocrisy from an astonishing new voice.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:17 -0400)

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1957, and Lewis Aldridge is travelling back to his home in the South of England. He is straight out of jail and 19 years old. His return will trigger the implosion not just of his family, but of a whole community.

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