Stay gold ~ ‘The Outsiders’ by S. E. Hinton #Review #COYER

The Outsiders by SE HintonRaise your hand if you were required to read this book for English class. Keep your hand up if you found the names and slang made you giggle/chuckle. Leave it there if you found that, if you updated the clothing, names and the lingo, the tale is as relevant and gut-wrenching as it was when it was first penned in the 60s. Allow yourself to get past these facts:

  • It was published almost 50 years ago
  • It was written by a teenager
  • It was written by a girl

and you will soon realize that this is a real story that can take place any time, anywhere. You can even substitute different groups for the sides in this book. Gangs. Police. Hate groups. Political parties. Social classes. Religious groups. Countries. This ain’t Silas Marner or Ethan Fromme; it’s not a story that you can’t relate to. Along with To Kill a Mockingbird, I think it is one of the most important books that teens should read. It speaks of the division of people by perceived sameness; how someone appears shouldn’t be their only definition; and how both getting everything you want and having nothing can sometimes end up with the same result.

Written in first person by Ponyboy Curtis, the story begins as he is walking home from the movie theater, engrossed in his thoughts. Suddenly he is jumped by a carload of Socs (“SO-shez,” short for Socials). There’s a longstanding hatred between the groups; the Greasers, of which Ponyboy is one, are poor and ready to defend themselves, while the Socs are rich and bored. These skirmishes happen sometimes, and your fellow Greasers or Socs always show up for support. It’s their code.
Johnny Cade is the group’s de facto pet. Ever since he was jumped and beat up pretty badly, he’s been more withdrawn than usual. Any time the Socs come around, he’s visibly paler. But he won’t say who jumped him, so they don’t ask. Johnny already has enough trouble with his physically abusive father and a mother who only screams at him. The Greasers are his real family. Everything changes when Ponyboy and Johnny are jumped late one night. A Soc boy is killed, and the two Greasers have to leave town and hide out. Both boys know that no one will believe that it was self-defense. Fate has different plans for them. But can a person be both a hero and a villain?

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton was originally published in 1967. This version was published on April 20, 2006 by Speak. I bought this copy.

Rating: 4

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Classics
Ages: 13 and up

COYER Scavenger Hunt #48: Read a book off the Goodreads “Make You Cry” list. (3 points)

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