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The Outcast by Sadie Jones (may contain spoilers)

(25 Posts)
Dragonbutter Tue 12-Aug-08 12:52:16

I was recommended this book by some mumsnetters and loved it and it made me cry.
I had a question about why the main character Lewis did what he did towards the end.
I don't want to spoil the ending for anybody so am not sure of book club etiquette for this type of discussion.
Anybody insightful around.

Dragonbutter Tue 12-Aug-08 15:10:26


slayerette Tue 12-Aug-08 15:24:45

You've warned everyone that your thread may contain spoilers so I think you just go ahead and ask your question! I haven't finished the book yet so won't be able to discuss with you for a day or two!

Dragonbutter Tue 12-Aug-08 15:55:22

come back and find this thread when you're finished. smile

Dragonbutter Tue 12-Aug-08 21:35:11


forkhandles Tue 12-Aug-08 22:37:12

oh my goodness I've just finished this book today, loved it!

olympicsnotfederer Tue 12-Aug-08 22:42:22

just about to start it so shhhhhhhhh

Dragonbutter Tue 12-Aug-08 22:43:14

brilliant. right i want to understand why lewis went to the house and let mr carmichael beat him up?
what was the point he was making?

Dragonbutter Tue 12-Aug-08 22:43:40

aah, sorry. look away look away.

forkhandles Tue 12-Aug-08 22:50:15

I wondered about that. Was it so that when he showed Kit's bruises in church that the congregation could see his hands were cut?

amateurmum Tue 12-Aug-08 22:52:15

I thought it was so that when he went to church afterwards he could demonstrate how violent Mr C was.

Also to show his care for (OMG forgotton character's name - the younger sister he is in love with!) in a way she cannot mistake or ignore.

amateurmum Tue 12-Aug-08 22:54:36

Kit! thank you.

Violence is also one of Lewis' ways to communicate and I think while it makes sense to him, it is not necessarily meant to make sense to the rational reader IYSWIM

Dragonbutter Tue 12-Aug-08 22:55:18

it made mr carmichael feel different didn't it. a real fight with another man rather than a little girl. maybe he wanted to show him that he was a coward for beating her.
but then why didn't lewis fight him back and give him a real fight?

or was it part of the self-harm thing, that lewis got pleasure from feeling pain inficted upon him?

or was it to show mrs carmichael what her husband was capable of and therefore frighten her into helping her daughter?

forkhandles Tue 12-Aug-08 22:55:23

but do you think people in church realised that Mr Carmichael had beaten Lewis up, or just that he must have been capable of hurting his daughter if he was a fighting man and his hands showed that he was? hmm interesting....

Dragonbutter Tue 12-Aug-08 22:56:38

ah, yes, to feel kits pain maybe?

forkhandles Tue 12-Aug-08 23:09:09

yes agree re feeling Kit's pain and I hadn't thought about that or about showing Kit he cares, just the sort of message he would send.

Dragonbutter Tue 12-Aug-08 23:15:42

ok so what about the incident on the landing? it was more than just a drunken thing surely.

did alice want to feel close to him, to connect? and he wanted to make her happy?

forkhandles Wed 13-Aug-08 14:00:40

yeah I think Alice felt lonely and guilty and Lewis wanted to make her feel better. He also felt bad because Alice thought she could have done more for him, but he never really blamed anyone did he. Maybe he was looking for some kind of love too, some affection and comfort. I felt really annoyed with Alice when I was reading it. Like she was making things even more difficult for him when he was struggling enough already, and then when Kit found out and it spoilt things between them I thought it was the end for them. I love the scene where he comes accross her swimming in the river and they sit by the tree.

Have you read anything else good recently?

Dragonbutter Wed 13-Aug-08 15:49:40

i agree, i had mixed feelings about the lewis and alice getting it on. it was a great addition to the story and written really well. but what on earth were they thinking? that was never going to help.
Lewis was so unloved once his mother died, and he started to believe he was bad, so in a self destructive sort of way, he was a self fulfilling prophecy.
Also, he was feeling rejected by kits sister (teasing cowbag that she was), at the time wasn't he. So there were lots of reasons why it could happen i suppose.

the bit in the book that really got me and made me cry so much i couldn't see the page was when lewis snuck into the house for some food. where he tells his father that he was just a kid when his mother died and that he needed to be loved. and then his father says he couldn't face his son at the time because he was so much like her.
if only he'd told him that when he was 10.
that point for me was what all the tension and unsaids built up to.
by the end, lewis and his father seemed to understand each other more.

anyway, yes, the book i read before this was a thousand splendid suns by khaled hosseini. it was great too.

Cocodrillo Thu 14-Aug-08 07:03:52

They were drunk though weren't they? Or she was, very, and he was so vulnerable really, and trying to comfort her ... and before he knew it he was boffing her. Cone on, we've all been there (though not with a step-parent presumably).

I loved loved LOVED this book, so much. It's one of my all-time faves now. All loved 1,000 splendid suns, found it very harrowing and moving, though I know some MNers have criticized it for being too two-dimensional.

Dragonbutter Thu 14-Aug-08 13:53:00

'we've all been there'
grin have you met my stepfather???
there's not enough alcohol in the world cocodrillo.

forkhandles Thu 14-Aug-08 15:43:58

I like 1000 Splendid Suns too but prefered The Kite Runner. Have also just finished Random Acts of Heroic Love which I really enjoyed too!

GloriaStits Fri 15-Aug-08 14:42:33

Dragonbutter- agree about the real man thing. Think one reason Lewis didn't fight back because all along he was presumed to be violent and weird and really his violence was always precipitated so by not fighting back he was showing he could control it. Also by not fighting back he was the injured party. Think it may have been to prove a point to carmichael also- proving that he is just a vicious, violent man no matter how he might justify hitting his family.

Bit with Alice I thought was rather sad. Felt so sorry for her. She was a bit Mrs De Winter wasn't she? Living in the shadow of the fabulous first wife. But whereas Max de Winter hated rebecca Lewis's dad loved his mum so much that her death ruined his relationship with Lewis. She had such good intentions with lewis but was young and didn't really know how to connect with him.
Ooh feel like reading it again grin

Dragonbutter Fri 15-Aug-08 14:50:48

aah, good point about lewis showing he had control over his violence.

slayerette Wed 10-Sep-08 16:43:31

Ah - I knew I could find this thread again!

In my opinion, the reason Lewis let Mr Carmichael hit him without retaliating was because he was looking for some kind of absolution or atonement - as if the beating was his punishment for the fact that he was 'no good' as he told Kit. Not striking back because he felt he deserved it. And in practical terms, it meant that Mr Carmichael could not claim self-defence as a reason for his beating Lewis. Remember the whole village thought Lewis was pretty much a psycho by that stage - if Mr Carmichael had been bruised or injured in any way, he could claim that he hit back in self-defence (like the boys did at that party where they attacked Lewis). As it was, you had Tamsin bruised, Kit bruised and Lewis bruised - while Mr Carmichael had the damaged knuckles to show his part in it all.


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