My first finished read of 2009 was Sadie Jones' The Outcast. I picked up a copy of this before Christmas based on a recommendation from my friend P. She was blown away by it. I wasn't.
Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, but just not as much as I was expecting to.
The book is set in the 1950s in the South of England and centres around Lewis Aldridge. We visit Lewis at various different times in his life and gain a painful insight into the hurt and confusion that he suffers due to events around him. The book looks at how suffering like this was covered up in middle-class England back then and how there is only one person that can really understand Lewis – a childhood friend's little sister, Kit.
Sadie Jones has managed to capture her character's pain in an astonishingly real way. There are certain lines that you read where I found myself flinching. The story itself though was just a bit flat and looking back on it seemed a bit weak compared to the wonderful writing of the smaller details of what went on.
One thing did annoy me about this book, and it's something that the author can take no blame for. My paperback copy cost £7.99 according to the cover (I think I got this on a 3 for 2, but still). The book is at least an inch thick (441 pages) yet it was an incredibly quick read. Why I hear you ask. Because most of each page is blank! A large font is used, the text is very spaced out and there are wide margins. I know I said that after Jane Austen's Emma I wanted something with larger print, but this was a bit ridiculous. Why???