[Review] The Outcast by Sadie Jones

Title: The Outcast: A Novel
Author: Sadie Jones
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Subject: Mothers and Sons, Ex-convicts, England - Social Life and Customs - 1945
Page: 345 pages
First Published: 2008

August 1957. Lewis Aldridge is nineteen years old and fresh out of prison after a two-year sentence. Nobody picks him up at the prison gate. He comes back alone on a train and dreads the “self-conscious and tense” at home. He thought there must be something really wrong with a person who would rather be in Brixton prison than their home. Lewis Aldridge is The Outcast.

Rewind to 1945, post-war England. Lewis was seven years old. His father Gilbert has just came back from the war. Their family was whole again and routine started to take place quickly: Work, Sunday church and luncheons at the Carmichael’s (Gilbert’s employer).

With the absence of his father during the war, Lewis grown to be very close to his mother. Until she died when he was ten – drowned in front of his very own eyes and nothing he can do about it. Everything fell apart after that traumatic event. Lewis became a troublemaker that led to his imprisonment.
Flash forward to August 1957. We see how Lewis struggles to find his way back into society.

I read this book in one day because I just couldn’t put it down. It is not difficult to empathize with Lewis as he deals with his loss and grief. It gets depressing as I read about how Lewis gets himself into trouble until towards the middle, I feel as though there is no hope for this boy. And that’s the beauty of the story. It goes to show that despite all the hardships, there is the power of forgiveness, redemption, and hope and it strengthens our faith that love, triumphs above all.

“He showed the guard his ticket and tried to be polite so that he wouldn’t frighten him and then he went and found a seat. He didn’t think about it, he went straight to a seat facing forwards, so that he could see where he was going.”


Alyce said…
It sounds like a good story even if it is one that could be depressing.
Nina B. said…
Wow, it sounds like something that could make a really dramatic TV series. Very interesting :D

And by the way, because I think you're sweet and awesome, I'd like to pass The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award to you. Congratulations!

Brush Up On Your Reading
Tales of Whimsy said…
Wow. Gorgeous review!