The Outcast
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The Outcast

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  4,315 ratings  ·  545 reviews
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"Two years is not a long time, but maybe longer from seventeen to nineteen than at other times of your life." It's a long time indeed for Lewis Aldridge; two years spent in prison, where he was sent for a reckless act of violence even he can't quite comprehend. Lewis's struggle with middle-class life on the outskirts of 1950s Lo...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 14th 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2008)
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Every now and again you come across a book that really appeals to you. After reading the blurb on the back, looking at the cover (judge a book by its cover? Me? Erm… yes, quite often) and reading a few well-chosen reviews, I decided that The Outcast was definitely going to be a book I would enjoy. It ticked all the boxes: Lots of praise from literary sources? Yep. Setting some time in the British past? Uh-huh. Dysfunctional families? Hell, yeah. So why, upon finishing, did I award it only two st...more
The following is a list of things I find so nauseating to read about that I cannot sustain interest in a novel, or in food:
1 - children watching their mothers drown (especially if it is described in agonizing detail for several pages)
2 - fathers beating children mercilessly
3 - sons sleeping with stepmothers
4 - incest
5 - people cutting themselves

The following is a list of writing no no's that make me crazy:
1 - telling and never showing
2 - characters that are not only totally flat but make zero se...more
Susan Burpee
I though The Outcast was a tremendous book. The writing style was lean and evocative at the same time. You'd never know it was a first novel. I found the characters believable and came to really care what happened to them even as they sometimes exasperated me. The plot dragged a tiny bit in the middle but persisting is worth the effort. I read the last few chapters while on the exercise bike and cried the whole time. Moving but definitely not sappy or sentimental.
Lewis, the main character is ki...more
If Ian McEwen had ever been a sixteen year old girl, this is the book he would have written. A young boy loses his mother, and no one around him has the tools or the heart to help him recover. Instead, they all have their own levels of disfunction to travel through - all except one, who fanfic readers will recognize as a Mary Sue of the highest calibre. That's not to say this isn't a good read, if you enjoy a pretty good gothic mixed with a heavy dose of romantic idealism. My complaint is that...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
I came to read this book mostly due to a review on Goodreads, a negative review, that made the book sound atrocious. I liked the review, but as a couple of years went by I couldn't quite get it out of my head, and my curiosity - was it really as bad as all that? - prodded me to buy it when I saw it at my favourite second-hand bookshop. And the short answer is No, I don't think it's as bad as the other reviewer found it to be, and isn't that part of the joy and the complexity of reading? What's t...more
Lewis Aldridge has been released after 2 years in prison. It is 1957, and he is coming home. But for some reason, nobody's really keen on seeing Lewis again. Why?

Rewind to 1945. His father has just returned from the war and somewhat dismayed to see that young Lewis has become quite attached to his mother. For his part, Lewis barely remembers his father. A few years later, in a tragic accident, Lewis's drunken mother drowns in the river, and nothing is ever the same again. For anyone.

For Lewis, l...more
I'm rating this a 3.7. Why can't we rate decimally?

It's a good book. Depressing, most reviews say, and I disagree. Depressing would have been if Lewis STAYed home! Or if he'd worked for Dicky FOREVER! Sadie Jones is a fine writer. I'm sorry I can't reach for her next book tomorrow. Some scenes were a bit over-the-top for me, mostly Lewis going berserk at home. I think Ms. Jones depicted these family lives perfectly, as well as the village cruelty. She did avoid life in Brixton, however. As I sup...more
Who exactly decides when a person is an outcast? Has society really changed that much since 1950? Don't people still only want to hang with the "right" people? This book brings up a lot of questions that could lead to great discussions in a reading club. And Dickie....I loathe Dickie in this book. When you read it, you'll understand why. You are not stuck with your history. At any time in life you can chose a new direction and create your own new beginning. Thank God for new beginnings.
Really well written, the characters are flawed and amazing,it is heavy at times but found it a quick read.Like I did not want to put it down, and thus stayed up all night reading it, weeping a lot (the exhaustion I'm sure). Lewis' life is quite heartbreaking,you really sympathize and love him .Also Lewis is hot and the sexual tension is unreal,with um everyone. I adored sweet Kit and her last scene was just...perfect, not corny, PERFECT.
This story takes places in the 1950's in England, though much of the angst portrayed is just as common place today, no matter where you live.

We meet Lewis Aldridge at the beginning of the story, he is 19 years old and just out of prison for setting fire to a church. He is hoping for a new chance at life, a new beginning, but things are off to a rocky start with his father, right from the beginning.

The story then reverts back to Lewis' childhood. He is a happy though quiet child who enjoys his...more
THE OUTCAST by Sadie Jones

What a depressing, sad and sorry bag of bones this book is. I understand it was originally conceived as a screenplay, maybe that should have told everyone something that it didn't get further than that. But I also see that it is to become a movie directed by the guy who directed Shakespeare in Love. I really can't visualise how that will turn out, although movies have been made of much less. And that reminds me, even though the blurb on the back sounded a bit suspect, I...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barbara Elsborg
It just makes it to four stars for me. The reason for the hesitation is the unrelenting misery. It's a lot to slog through when your main character is so downtrodden, downbeat and desperately sad. BUT Jones made me feel for him. I kept thinking - no more can happen to the man-boy but it did. I think the picture of society at that time seemed accurate. It was an interesting look at the struggle by a young man to come to terms with his mother's death and his role in it, and with a father who loves...more
Melinda Seyler
Mar 12, 2013 Melinda Seyler rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melinda by:
The Outcast by Sadie Jones
This is the story of Lewis who is introduced as a small boy just after WW2. Lewis and his mother have been alone while his father was in the war. When Lewis' father returns, life changes. Lewis is an interloper. His father resents any time Lewis spends with his mother, calling it spoiling. The father is cold and totally unloving. Unfortunately, Lewis' mother drowns in a nearby river when he and she are alone one day and people begin to treat Lewis as if he had something...more
Dec 03, 2008 Mandie rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Manic depressive Sun readers
Recommended to Mandie by: Misguided reviews ;)
OVerlong and overrated.
I found nothing in any of the characters presnted that made me either sympathise or empathise with them.
There are too many unanswered questions. What could have been a powerful book was weak in terms of scene setting (the return of father at the end of WW2) but we do not really get to grips with why his wife drank so. These pages could have been used to much greater effect in studying the relationship of the mother and father to the young Lewis and could clearly have built...more
Linda Lipko
This book packs a wallop and is definitely not for those who like soft, rosy stories.

It is a book that will haunt me for awhile...a long while.

As stated in the opening chapter, two people went into the woods for a picnic and only one returned!

When young Lewis witnesses the drowning of his mother, his life spins way out of control while his father and the upper crust social strata of 1940-1950's England encourages and foments denial.

When his father rapidly re marries and Lewis' feelings are pushe...more
This book begins with the release of a young man, Lewis Aldridge, from Brixton prison in 1957. He is the privileged son of a Surrey stockbroker: but how has he come to be a blight on his family and on his community? Even the maid will not be alone in a room with him.

Sadie Jones paints a sad picture of a hypocritical surburban post-war society in her debut novel, ‘The Outcast’. The themes covered within it are self-harm, domestic violence, loss, alcoholism and family breakdowns; heavy themes inde...more
Eirin Orum
This book was one of 27 that found its way to my home at a bookstore bargain sale. Most of them were children's books for my daughter, but around 10 of the books were for me, and I've been going through them very slowly. I've been really let down by most of the books, but this one actually made me want to be able to read more than a chapter or so just before falling asleep at night.

This is not a plot-driven book at all. The introduction makes it pretty clear what has happened and will happen, y...more
Will Byrnes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2011 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Gaye; Tina
An emotionally painful portrayal of the violent consequences that arise when a child grows up deprived of love and affection, as well as the hypocrisy and cruelty of small village life in the 50's, where a bereaved child is viewed as a problem to be ignored or sent away so that cocktails aren't interrupted, rather than comforted and loved.

Judging by the fury this book managed to inspire in me (I had to keep putting it down every five seconds so I could scream abuse at all but two of the characte...more
Her first book and it shows promise, but did rather concetina towards the end with too many incidents and events happening too quickly one after the one. The earlier parts where the pace is slower with more characterisation and reflection were better. Set in post war England, this is such a sad tale about a boy - Lewis - who suffers being apart from his father during the war and then his mother to whom he was very close drowns in the local river whilst swimming with Lewis. His distant father and...more
This is a book which will test all your emotions. From sadness to anger to sorrow, you follow the seven stages of grief with Lewis and his father. Here is a young boy who watches his mother drown and cannot do anything to save her. This is where the author leaves it up to the reader to decide if Lewis deliberately lets his mother drown or if he really cannot save her. His father so locked up in his own grief that he cannot find room to let his son into his heart. Is he blaming his son? I return...more
I can see now why the little blurbs on the front of my copy that say things like "Riveting", "Addictive" and "Mesmerizing" were put there. Out of the list of words I would choose to describe this book, those three are at the very top.

The story is heart-wrenching. As a child, Lewis Alderidge suffers through one of the most traumatic things a child can ever go through. A full out witnessing of his mother's death by drowning. It affects him on so many multiple levels, psychologically and later, thr...more

An absorbing read in which it is I think impossible not to feel tremendously sympathetic towards the protagonist Lewis Aldridge who although only nineteen has already had an awful lot to cope with in his young life. What an unhappy young man although nobody seems to notice, or if they do they certainly do not offer to help him.

It was the 1950’s stiff upper lip era and this angry and deeply troubled young man was just labelled as a trouble maker.

The early years of his life were spent solely in th...more
Set in a small village outside of London in the 1950s, this is a story about everyday people trying to cope with and hide their brokenness from everyone else. Lewis, our protagonist, witnesses the accidental death of his mother at 10 years old, and it understandably affects him deeply. But his wounds are left to fester when none of the adults in his life take any responsibility for giving him the emotional care he needs after such a traumatic incident. As he gets older, he turns to increasingly...more
emi Bevacqua
I will never trust another Lainey book review ever. Lui raved about this first novel by Sadie Jones and it is winner of the Costa Award and finalist for the Orange Broadband Prize (whatever that is) but I should have known better when I saw the blurb from Oprah's Magazine on the cover.

Anyways, this thing reeked of YA Fiction. It was sordid, there were heaving bosoms, there were no higher ideals or anything enriching or advancing, it was just romanticized hysteria and kind of a step by step how-...more
Il bambino del fiume (misteriosa traduzione del titolo originale The Outcast) è la storia di formazione del giovane Lewis. Siamo in un paesino fuori Londra ed è appena finita la seconda guerra mondiale. Il padre di Lewis torna dal fronte e a lui e a sua madre non sembra vero di averlo di nuovo a casa. Eppure, la vita ora diventa molto diversa: la madre di Lewis è una persona anticonformista ma il marito non lo è e la costringe il più possibile nei binari di una vita ipocrita e convenzionale. Ino...more
The Outcast
Il bambino del fiume (ma che senso ha questo titolo? Mah)racconta la storia di Lewis nell'Inghilterra degli anni '50. Fin da bambino Lewis ha dovuto affrontare grandi disagi e un perenne senso di abbandono, dovuti alla prematura e tragica morte della madre e al fatto che il padre non è in grado di occuparsi di lui. La solitudine che circonda Lewis è pesante e ingestibile, tanto che lui incapperà in una serie di vicissitudini una più tragica dell'altra, senza mai riuscire ad essere com...more
Wow, what an excellent first novel! Excellent, but or because it's a tough, heartbreaking story that held me in its grip right from the beginning. It's about family relationships, loss, grief and emotional neglect in children. It realistically describes what happens when children don't get the love, encouragement and support they should get from their parents. It also depicts very well the England of the 1950s where you had to keep up appearances and where problems weren't talked about openly. T...more
This was an interesting book for me...I quickly got into it and devoured the first 100 pages and then all of a sudden the narrative just seemed to come to a halt for me. I put the book down and didn't really have any motivation to pick it up again for several days. Then I found out the book was due back to the library and I couldn't renew it because it was on hold for someone else. So I decided I was going to keep it and try to finish as quickly as possible. After another 10 or 15 slow pages thi...more
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Soooo depressing!! 4 64 Jan 14, 2013 06:03AM  
Tellus Book Club: The Outcast 1 10 Oct 04, 2011 08:06PM  
Reviews 1 17 Jul 24, 2011 02:05AM  
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was born in London, England, the daughter of a poet and an actress. Her father, Evan Jones, was born in Portland, Jamaica in 1927. He grew up on a banana farm, eventually moving to the United States, and from there to England in the 1950s. His most widely acclaimed work is "The Song of the Banana Man". Sadie's mother, Joanna Jones, was featured as an extra in various television series, including...more
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“There was a sudden stillness like the gap between ticks on a clock, but the next tick never coming.” 14 likes
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