Reading guide for The Outcast by Sadie Jones

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The Outcast

by Sadie Jones

The Outcast
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2008, 352 pages
    Apr 2009, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!


In this brilliant debut, Sadie Jones tells the story of a boy who refuses to accept the polite lies of a tightly knit community that rejects love in favor of appearances. Written with nail-biting suspense and cinematic pacing, The Outcast is an emotionally powerful evocation of postwar provincial English society and a remarkably uplifting testament to the redemptive powers of love and understanding.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Sadie Jones worked as a screenwriter for fifteen years—do you think this is reflected in her writing?
  2. Do you think Gilbert is jealous of Lizzie and Lewis's strong bond?
  3. "He thought there must be something wrong with a person who would rather be in Brixton prison than their own home." Do you agree with Lewis in this statement? Why do you think he feels this way?
  4. Both Gilbert and Dick seem to bully their families. Do you think that they behave in this way because they consider it to be socially acceptable?
  5. What parallels can you draw between Kit and Lewis's childhood experiences?
  6. Do you think either Lizzie or Alice married Gilbert for love? How do you think he feels about them?
  7. Do you think Lewis ever really reciprocates Kit's feelings?
  8. Do you think that the issues raised in the novel could have been resolved if they had just talked to each other? Would this have been possible with the 1950s social restraints?
  9. How do you think Waterford and its residents have changed when Lewis returns from prison?
  10. How do you think attitudes towards some of the issues raised in the book have changed since the 1950s. Look at:
    • Alcohol
    • Self-harm
    • Church

Created by, and reproduced with the permission of, Harper Collins Publishers.

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Harper Perennial. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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