#CBR4 Review 14: The Outcast by Sadie Jones

25 Mar

Another LaineyGossip reccomendation, Sadie Jones’s The Outcast is an understated, beautifully dramatic novel. Lewis, the protagonist, slowly unravels after the death of his mother to the disappointment of his traditional, suburban town. As Lewis withdraws, struggling in silence, his friends, family and neighborhood simply cannot process his pain. Lewis’s behavior fails to comply with acceptable social norms; he’s not quite cheerful enough, he fails to respond to questions, his temper quickens. Everyone around him tries to force him to keep up appearances, to comply with the unstated social contracts that govern his small town, and Lewis eventually breaks, landing himself in prison.

The characters are all heartbreaking in their own way. Lewis’s father, a model of “traditional” fathering, who tries to instill strenght and distance in his son and expunge any traces of emotion from their lives. Lewis’s stepmother, who retreats into alcoholism like his biological mother before her. Kit, the young neighbor, broken by her father who is the only one who might understand Lewis’s pain. Tasmin, Kit’s older sister who uses her charms like a weapon, trying to manipulate those around her.

Everyone suffers; everyone tries to hide their pain. This is a novel about how we all hide behind acceptable behavior rather than face the realities of our lives. It’s a novel about the people who cannot quite bring themselves to hide when they’re in pain. It’s a novel about Lewis, who fully understands the darkness within him, and you know that his story can only end in some brutal way. You root for Lewis; you want him to redeem himself, and he manages to save someone, but fails to save himself. The book is haunting and dark but beautiful.


One Response to “#CBR4 Review 14: The Outcast by Sadie Jones”


  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #14: The Outcast by Sadie Jones « Cannonball Read IV - March 25, 2012

    […] More… Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by hellokatieo in 4 stars – a great book and tagged CBR4, drama, family saga, hellokatieo, sadie jones, suburbia, the outcast […]

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