The Outcast by Sadie Jones

I read this book I while ago and am still unsure of what I think of it. It is set in post-war England, the protagonist loses his mother tragically at a young age and it shows the effect it had on him but also the ways in which he tries to deal with it. His sadness pushes him away from others, as does his lack if willingness to seek help.

I’ll start with the things I did like about the book. I enjoyed the setting and found myself strangely affectionate for the main character. I guess there is something in “dysfunctional” which springs forth “sympathy”. I liked the characters and thought they were interesting but also had their own problems. It probably sounds really weird but I found it interesting that they were all broken in their own way. I thought it was a clear depiction of how imperfect life is and how people just put up with what is in their life. I liked the incorporation of the upper class being the least respectable people. I liked how much I liked Kit and how much it bothered me when her father hit her. I liked the setting and always think there is something quite distant about this period of time. Whenever I hear about it, it always sounds like a happy period of time where everyone has street parties and knows everyone. I know that is a far-fetched idea but it is what comes to mind! I also always get the impression this period of time as being a sigh of relief from the war. I did like a lot about it. And as I have never really read a book like it before, it made it even better.

However, things I didn’t like was that it was almost like Jones had swallowed a textbook of teenage problems and splattered the novel with it. The father annoyed me as well because it was so obviously his fault and it was clear what he needed to do, but he never did it! My first and foremost criticism of this book though would be that it felt like it took a long time to get started. It did get good but it was more a case of it getting good eventually. For those who have read any of my other reviews will know how prudent I can be, and in honesty there was A LOT of sex in this book. Not even just by my standards! It seemed to be wedged into every corner. In any circumstance where someone could have sex in this novel, this did! And as it is only me who has some kind of problem with this then I guess that is absolutely fine. Although I didn’t think so. I know that reading about him and his stepmother having sex wasn’t meant to be comfortable it didn’t seem necessary, nothing ever really came about from them doing so. Kit saw them being affectionate and nothing.


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