The Outsider The Outsider question


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I'd let my kid read Carrie, but not It. Should I let him read Outsider?
Eric Nelson Eric Jun 11, 2018 05:47PM
Trying to gauge the intensity of the themes in this book. I trust my teenager with horror, but some adult themes are still a little too intense and above his head (maybe in a year or two). In terms of ranking its appropriateness to kids compared to other Stephen King books, where would you place this--and why?



I would say no based on how gruesome and detailed the murders are. I even had a hard time getting through some parts. The book is definitely geared more towards adults.


My opinion on the topic idk really. For example I'm pretty young and reading books more so for adults, and I'm doing pretty ok. I'd say its whatever you're comfortable letting your child consume. The Outsider is a good book, it does use 1 instance of a slur, graphic depictions of sexual assult, mature language, etc. But its really what you allow, and however much your kid can handle well.


No. The imagery of an 11 year old boy being raped with a branch is horrific. Two little girls are also raped & murdered. Definitely too disturbing for a young teen.

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J. Wilson I was only fourteen when I read this book. It is horrific and bone-chilling. I do not believe that a parent should limit what their child should be ab ...more
Oct 09, 2020 07:43PM · flag

I am a 15 year old. I love this book and think it is one of the many successes that King has produced. I read this book when I was only 14. I do not think you should limit the amount of Literature and knowledge that a child should be able to consume. I love reading and King is one of my favorite authors. Without this book, I don't think I would have gotten into the plethora of great stories that I have read from King. This is a gruesome book and should be read by someone who can understand that. If your child is a mature reader, then by any means let them at it, but if they are young and shielded from the harsh horrors of this world, exercise caution. Let them decide .


I remember the content of certain stories being a bit... rough for my age. King's "The Library Policeman" from Four Past Midnight comes to mind. I haven't read it in decades, and it still makes me cringe. Talk about nightmares for little bibliophiles!

Recently, I asked my parents about their laissez-faire attitude towards what I read as a kid. My mom said, "We trusted you." Maybe that comes from having an old-soul child who reads instead of socializing. But it didn't warp me too much, so I raised my two the same way.

That said, I believe a parent knows their child and is the best judge of their maturity level. If you aren't sure, hold off or give them enough info to decide if they're comfortable with the subject matter. It's a great way to build trust and demonstrate respect in a parent/child relationship.


With some of the things that go on in this book I'm not sure it's right for a child maybe older teens but no one younger because I'm 33 and there were a few moments when I felt a little uneasy.


DolphinBlue (last edited Jun 21, 2018 10:52AM ) Jun 21, 2018 10:50AM   0 votes
No one can answer that but you. We all have different perspectives and values.

I didn't believe in shielding my kids much from any number of things that other folks might find abhorrent: "profanity" (just words some people decided were 'profane', they all have meanings that are also represented by non-profane words), violence, sex/nudity, etc. Of course, not when they were 5. But if there were able and willing to read a book, virtually any book, I did not censor them.

My kids are now 18, 21 and 24. All turned out great and were not "damaged" by whatever my parenting skills (or lack thereof, YMMV) may have done. Many, many kids endure real-life tragedies and turn out fine. Others don't. What's in the kid will come out, regardless of your parenting.


Excellent question, but because every kid is different and at varying states of maturity, this is an unanswerable question. I have been an avid reader since the age of 7. I was reading VERY adult books as a preteen (thank you, Librarian Lady, for never doing more than raising an eyebrow). I cut my teeth on gothic horror at about aged 10, along with Perry Mason Murder mysteries. My mother, who was NOT a reader, never paid any attention to what I was checking out from the library. I would have been fine reading this novel at aged 13 or 14. And BTW, I am in my 6th decade now.


As someone who's pretty lenient with how appropriate King's books are for children, I'd definitely say wait a few years if he's young. Carrie is a great read about something your teenager might've had experience with in high school and it provides perspective; this one might be a tad too disturbing, but in graphic images and descriptions—the story is amazing.
However, with IT, I was much more scared about the length of the book rather than the content. After 3 attempts at reading, I switched to audiobook (which is excellent, by the way).
If you need any recommendations for your teenager, I definitely would look at The Mist, The Shining, Gwendy's Button Box, Joyland, The Long Walk. The first two were my firsts in King's world, and the last three are pretty darned good. I also recommend the last three because their characters are mostly around a teenager's age and thus would provide better perspective on things a child at that age would experience.
Hope this helps!


I would say that this book is not much for children. During specific depictions of the murder scene is described, I though maybe I shouldn't be hearing this... but, if you can get passed the horrific murder and rape of a little boy... followed by the tree branch... then all-in-all the rest should be fine


I'm about to turn 14 and this is probably my favourite book,my love for Stephen King started with this book,The book is gory?,yes it is,but I always imagined the scenes in what is known for me,so if your teen doesn't have access to this violence your afraid of,there shouldn't be a problem,now,spoilers ahead,the book at the end leaves pretty clear how fantastical The Outsider is,so with the crimes the creature commited there shouldn't be a problem,now for me the most disturbing parts are the ones of the Peterson family,specially the teen and the father's death,which are very real,and non-related to the creature


Let your kid read what they want. Don't censor them. They'll find their own groove. I base my opinion on raising 5 daughters and 1 son, who've all grown to be awesome well adjusted people.


Sophie (last edited Jun 16, 2018 04:17PM ) Jun 16, 2018 10:32AM   0 votes
How old is your teenager? Are we talking young/mid-teens or late teens? I'm in my late 20's and found some parts of this book the most disturbing that I've read in years. Don't get me wrong - it's a great story, and the violence isn't constant, nor is it gore for the sake of gore - the violent parts are there for a reason; they add to the story/plot/characterization.

That said, this isn't cartoon violence and horror (ie. IT) . We are talking about brutal atrocities and tragedies, more disturbing because they are the type that occur in real-life. The brutal murder/rape of young children is described in horrifying detail, and many other adult themes. I don't want to go into too much detail because I don't want to spoil anything, but this book contains some very dark stuff. So my short answer is, no, I would suggest your son put this one off until he's AT LEAST 17.

Besides CARRIE, for your son I'd suggest: IT, THE STAND, THE SHINING - all great books that I don't think a teen would have too many issues handling. I read IT and THE SHINING when I was about 15 with no problem. Others have recommended some that I haven't read. Save this one for later. If he is an older teen, and dying to read THE OUTSIDER (no pun intended, heh), I would really suggest you read it first (it's certainly worth the read, whether or not you're a SK fan) and make a judgement for yourself.


Not sure. Twenty years ago I would have said that any kid who can read should be reading King . . . but he was a different writer then. Now he is writing about real life instead of horror. Still, King now takes violence seriously and works the moral dimensions of suffering. Hard to see how that could be bad for teenagers.


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