The Outsiders

Image courtesy of www.puffin.co.uk

Image courtesy of http://www.puffin.co.uk

Hinton, S.E. 1967, renewed 1995. The Outsiders. New York: Puffin Books ISBN 0-14-038572-X $9.99.  Mass Market Paperback-Reprint.

Awards:
*New York Herald Tribune Best Teenage Books List, 1967
*Chicago Tribune Book World Spring Book Festival Honor Book, 1967
*Media and Methods Maxi Award, 1975
*ALA Best Young Adult Books, 1975
*Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, 1979

Ponyboy is a ‘greaser’ who enjoys hanging with his brothers and friends while avoiding the ‘Socs’ or rich kids. One night things go too far in the rivalry between the two groups and Ponyboy’s life is changed forever.

“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.” So begins one of the classics of young adult literature. Ponyboy is a ‘greaser’ who lives on the East Side of town with his two older brothers. They have a group of friends who they hang with who all have a variety of tough lives.  The group sticks together and is there for each other no matter what happens. On the West Side of town live the richer kids, the ‘Socs’. One of the favorite activities of the ‘Socs’ boys is to drive around in their fancy cars and look to beat up ‘greasers.’ There is one fateful night when things go too far and the lives of Ponyboy, his group of friends and the tension between the two warring factions is changed forever. Along the way, Ponyboy learns how to better understand people such as his older brother, friends and even the ‘Socs.’

One of the most remarkable things about this novel is the fact the author started writing it when she was 15 and it was published for the first time when she was 17.  S.E. Hinton shows a wisdom beyond her years in the way the themes of coming-of-age, friendship and how socio-economic status  can breed rivalries all tie together in the story. The novel is a fast-paced read but it will leave you with something to ponder and may even help you see rivalries or friendships of your own in a new light.

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