By: S.E. Hinton
First Published in 1967
Page Count: 180
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Realistic Fiction
There are certain books that seem to captivate - generation after generation. The Outsiders is one of those stories. It doesn't matter if you were a kid when the book was first published in the late 60's or if you're reading this for the first time as a kid in 2012. There is something timeless that lurks between these pages that speaks to us all.
I can still vividly recall reading this book as a young teen. Even though Ponyboy's life was drastically different from mine, there was something about his narrative that spoke to me. This is one of the first books I can recall that really gave me pause. I didn't see social warfare on this scale in school, but there were plenty of taunts and looks directed at those who didn't quite fit in with everyone else. I stopped to consider my interactions with them. I did not want my friendships - then or now - to exclude others who were not in the socioeconomic sphere.
This novel provides important commentary not only on social class, but on the transition between childhood and adulthood. Ponyboy and the other Greasers have had to grow up far too fast. Their story holds a powerful message. I haven't encountered a student (yet) that hasn't enjoyed reading this book. It crosses social barriers and gender lines.
One element that saddens me is that in all this time since the book was first published these issues haven't changed all that much.
I think this novel can teach and encourage us all. Stay gold.
One Last Gripe: While the writing makes it accessible for readers of a variety of levels, I realize that it's not the best writing out there. It doesn't seem to matter - it just seems to pull you in to the world of Socs and Greasers. Also, considering S.E. Hinton was a teen when she wrote this, I can excuse some of the formulaic writing issues.
My Favorite Thing About The Book: I love the relationship between the Curtis brothers
First Sentence: When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.
Favorite Character: Ponyboy
Least Favorite Character: Dallas
According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.