Friday, 11 September 2009

The Outcast by Sadie Jones

DATE PUBLISHED: 2007 DATE READ: September 2009 NOTES: When I saw the dreaded Richard and Judy logo on the cover of this book I nearly put it on one side. But as I had heard the author speaking on the radio (and she sounded really bright) I decided to put my prejudices on one side. First the good news: Sadie Jones writes in a lucid simple style that conveys the time and place well. At the centre of the novel is Lewis, a troubled and lonely adolescent who is still mourning the loss of his mother in a tragic accident. The stifling atmosphere of post-war village England is very well portrayed as is Lewis’s desperate seeking for love and attention. This is a very well-heeled version of village life – all the characters live in large houses and have servants and chauffeurs. The introduction of domestic violence in this setting was interesting but not entirely convincing. The first two parts of the book are gripping and propel the reader forwards. Unfortunately the story (for me) did not ultimately live up to its early promise and by the end had become overblown and melodramatic. Lewis’s final confrontation with his tormentor is somewhat unbelievable (or did someone have their eye on a film adaptation?) So, a very good beginning but by the end The Outcast was just high class Chick-Lit.

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