By Sadie Jones
Completed January 1, 2010
Lewis Aldridge was an outcast – shunned by his father who reminded him too much of his deceased wife, bewildered by his young stepmother and largely ignored by his peers in his home village. Alone and hurt, Lewis became a man torn between the hatred he felt for being cast out and the desperation to feel accepted. In her debut novel, The Outcast, Sadie Jones exposed parts of Lewis’s soul who were hard to read about, but like a bad car accident, you keep looking, hoping to learn more.
Lewis will be a character that I won’t soon forget. Most of the time, he was a character worthy of sympathy – a terrible victim of cirumstance that was acting out against society. Then, Lewis would show uglier colors and deeper flaws. He did unforgiveable things. And his bad reputation made him the target for any accusation – from rape to theft – whether he committed the crimes or not.
As I finished The Outcast, I realized that Lewis was not the only “outcast” in this book. His parents were sad and lost too. His friends’ parents, the Carmichaels, were unscrupable. When Lewis made this realization, he felt even more broken. The only good in the world, for him, was 15-year-old Kit Carmichael, who was the constant recipient of her father’s physical abuse. He was determined to help her, despite the personal costs.
It’s hard to say one could “enjoy” this book. The characters, though real, were tragic. Their destinies did not seem optimistic. But the ending left you with a glimmer of hope that the strength of the human spirit could endure all.
Friday, January 1, 2010
The Outcast by Sadie Jones (Jill)