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The Outcast by Sadie Jones
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The Outcast (2008)

by Sadie Jones

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1,096577,588 (3.59)224
  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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English (51)  Dutch (2)  Norwegian (2)  Piratical (1)  All (56)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
A very good story but very grim indeed. The main character Lewis is a young boy who loses his affectionate mother when she drowns while they are out swimming. His father is very stuffy and cold and the boy withdraws into himself. He feels isolated and becomes known to the town as the "difficult" boy and no one cuts him any slack at all. The novel begins with a Prologue where Lewis is age 19 and returning home from two years of prison. It's a book that is tough to read because you can tell Lewis is a really sweet kid who is just crying out for affection, only to be rebuffed time and again. Well worth the read. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
What an outstanding debut! If I ever were to write a book, this would be the sort of first book I would dream of writing. Crystal-clear poignant writing, startling psychological insights, gripping plot, characters who resonate in your consciousness, and a powerful urgency that makes you want the book to continue long after it ended. The Outcast by Sadie Jones just cannot get better as a debut.

Sometimes reading is not about the big, classic prose. It is not about 1000 pages of history-making epics. Reading is sometimes just an echo into a world not ours. The Outcast achieves the latter perfectly. Young Lewis Aldridge is damaged for life when his mother drowns in a river, while he watches, and then struggles to rescue her. The incident scars relations with his father, who withdraws into himself and treats Lewis as an "outcast" than the love that the lad craves. Alice, his step-mother tries hard but the relationship between Lewis and her is fraught with tension. Cursed with a violent temper, Lewis grows up misunderstood, much maligned, and eventually thrown into the harsh edges of society's unforgiving judgment. I have a temper myself, and at every step I found myself almost mentally wishing Lewis not to lose his temper, not to get angry, and not to retreat into the violence his damaged soul craves. Trust me, I identified with Lewis. There is only person who understands Lewis despite his torn soul - and that is Kit. But do "Kit and Lewis remain intact and find their way to each other" amid the mess and muddle of "violence, sex, parental responsibility, love and emotion?" I would be spoiling the book for you if I told you that, wouldn't I? :-)

Throughout the novel, Sadie Jones keeps the tension up. The atmosphere is claustrophobic as it builds up towards what is admittedly, in the only drawback of the plot, a very staged climax. But The Outcast is stunning. A remarkable debut, and I hope Sadie is writing more! ( )
  Soulmuser | May 30, 2017 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (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)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.

» see all 3 descriptions

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