One of my all time favorites. Read this first in grade school, which inspired the budding reader in me to keep on reading. I had read everything by S.E. Hinton before I had even finished middle school, and the Outsiders remains the best of all her novels. A fantastic tale of social cliques and the bonds of friendship and family.
Just finished this book and can finally see what the fuss was about.
I'd seen the movie and knew the plot and was even a bit put off by the first chapter. The narrator, Ponyboy, had a voice that initially felt unrealistic for a 14 year old boy. Particularly one coming of age in the early to mid 60's. However, once past the early descriptions of everyone, the dissonance pretty much disappeared and the final chapters make up for all of the disparity and even explain it to a degree.
There is a brilliantly conflicted duality to Ponyboy. We get indications of it in his enjoyment of sunsets and reading but its only toward the end when we see him breaking a bottle to threaten some socs then after they leave picking up the glass so no one gets a flat tire, that we really see just how different the two natures that are vying for his soul truly are.
The early chapters all build to this denouement but they had more of the feel of a dystopian novel translated to a 50's youth gang vernacular. If I'd been asked to characterize the book half way through I'd have grouped it with The Cross and the Switchblade and West Side Story and such stories.
But the family dynamic that surfaces in the last few chapters makes it much more than that. This book truly deserves the popularity that its attained.
The classic movie from the 80's. A must read if you love the movie!
Great reading about raw teenage life, friends, and loyalty.
If you were a teenaged girl in the 1980s, you undoubtably read this book and saw the movie with the all-star cast. Heck, you may have even had a poster with The Outsiders on it in your room next to your Duran Duran and Stray Cats ones.
The story, far from being a fluffy "teen read," is a deep one about class, violence, abandonment, family, and loss. When a lower-class "greaser" kills an upper-class "Soc," he and his friend go on the run, leading to a chain of events that end tragically.
I used to teach this to ninth-grade students and they all loved it, boys and girls included. It's hard to believe the author was only 16 when she wrote it!