The Outcast – Sadie Jones

The Outcast - Sadie Jones

The Outcast - Sadie Jones

This is one of this summer’s hottest books – advertised everywhere, in all the lists of best beach reads and glued to the fingers of every third person on public transport.

So what’s it actually like? The Outcast is set in the 1950s, Lewis is a 19-year-old boy released from prison and returning to the scene of his crime, his childhood home and village of Waterford in Surrey.

Nine years previously, Lewis had gone out for the day with his mother, who he was devoted to, but came back without her. The events of the day will change his life forever.

The book is written beautifully and evokes the period eloquently and almost perfectly. You feel quickly immersed into the time and get a sense for the customs and qualities.

English rural life is still very much affected by the war and female emancipation isn’t exactly rife. Life for Lewis’ family and friends is still all about cocktail parties and Sunday mornings at church. Everyone knows everyone else’s business, or else you think they do.

I enjoyed this book up to a point. Something in me, though, found it all a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps it was the stereotypical portrayal of men and women, which undeniably befits the era.

Maybe it was because I felt that there was something missing to the story. It all felt a bit too neat and I thought there could have been a few more loose ends and grey areas.

That’s not a great critique, I know, but perhaps you have to read it yourself to understand. Whatever, it’s immensely accomplished for a first novel – just not quite as amazing as some people and reviews would have you believe.

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