Jacquelynn Luben's Reviews > The Outcast

The Outcast by Sadie Jones
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's review
Apr 23, 2009

really liked it

** spoiler alert ** I thought this was very worthy of its place on the Orange shortlist.

Almost from the beginning, I was able to empathise with the main characters, and for me this is an important aspect of the book – any book.

It was impossible not to feel for Lewis – misunderstood and mistreated, not always deliberately – throughout the book, and to watch his downward spiral into self abuse, alcoholism and violence. I worried as the book progressed that there would be a very bleak ending and I was relieved and pleased that there was not.

Kit, too, was a great character; and her sister Tamsin was well-drawn – a flirt and a tease, but not really malicious. The portrayal of two dysfunctional families – dysfunctional in totally different ways was well done. I’m not sure I totally believed in Jeanie – the clichéd ‘tart with a heart’. It was a little bit difficult to imagine the appeal of this fourteen year old boy to all these older women, but obviously, Lewis was a stunner!

I felt really angry with Dicky Carmichael - and with Clare too, for her lack of moral courage, and I was glad they were appropriately punished – even though it was only by people failing to come to their lunch – and hopefully – a permanent cold shoulder.

I note that it all took place in Guildford – but actually, it could have been anywhere in the Home Counties. There was nothing specifically Guildfordian about it.


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