I have loved this book since I was a child and it remains one of my favorites today.
The protagonist is a bright, articulate boy named Byron. He lives with his almost nonexistent mother and his adopted brother, Mark. An accomplished car thief ("nothing to hot wiring," according to him) and lover of fights, Mark is bad news. Byron describes him in an almost feral way; Mark had leonine coloring and features and his most outstanding feature is his amber colored eyes. Being with Mark is like a roller-coaster ride. Byron enjoys the excitement that living on the edge with Mark can bring.
The characters are sharp and richly drawn as is the Oklahoma town of the mid-1960s where the story takes place. One gets a strong, compelling sense of the characters and the dividing line in their immediate community. The "Greasers," so called because of their love for Elvis and tendency to use hair grease are looked down upon because they live on the "wrong side of the tracks," the east side of town. The Socs, (short for "Socialites") on the other hand are their affluent West Side counterparts. Byron falls hard for a socially mobile girl and takes her little brother, nicknamed M&M under his wing. The girl later ends up dating Byron's friend, the weirdly named Ponyboy who is in Byron's social circle.
The kids in this work, as in all of S. E. Hinton's works are highly independent. Adult characters are peripheral at best. The story is really about the young people in the Oklahoma community and their issues, confrontations and interactions. S. E. Hinton's books during this time period tend to be juvenocracies, that is ruled by youth.
Guns, drugs and violence are all part of the story. The conflict between the Socs and the Greasers is like "West Side Story" with bite, punch and gritty attitude. I love it!
S. E. Hinton is a highly gifted writer. She has a real gift for voice, place and character development. This work is very compelling and will leave you thinking about the characters and the various fates they meet long after you turn the last page.
on July 29, 1997
This is a powerful book that is excellently written. It tells of a teenager who is finding himself and must make decisions that ruin friendships and effect his life. Throughout this boy's maturing, many characters are introduced. The characters almost come alive, they are so real.
Toward the end of the book, I found myself in tears as the boy makes a necesary decision that SEEMS right, that appears to be the moral decision, but the outcome doesn't seem fitting and it made me wonder whether he made the right choice, whether that was the right decision.
This book is very life-like, very real. S.E. Hinton is my favorite author and she writes about what she knows; thus, the situations are easy to relate to. Infact, without even meaning to, I found myself relating to the story, comparing it to my life. The knowledge I received from this book will help me make decisions as I get older. If you are a young adult searching for who you are, or someone trying to make the right decisions in life, you need to read this book! It makes you think and ask yourself, "What is the right choice? What did this boy do wrong?" Apply it to your life and learn from the lesson, almost hidden, in this book
on February 16, 2000
In the book, That was Than This is Now by S.E. Hinton, a young boy goes on his path to maturity while his best friend is still acting like a tough greaser. Like many of S.E. Hinton's books this takes place in a time of gangs and hippies. After the socs and the greasers' war, Bryon and his best friend Mark are enjoying life by being to able to do whatever they want. Mark was brought into Bryon's family after his parents killed each other. Their mother does not care what they do as long as they don't get themselves killed. Him and Bryon have been best friends since they were little kids mixed up in the greasers. They hang out in a bar, hustle complete strangers in pool and go to the drug store with M&M, who is a hippie. Due to a turn in events these three, and M&M's sister, Cathy, get into a dilemma where their decisions can determine the rest of their lives.
This book that S.E. Hinton wrote is a lot like many others he wrote, such as Taming the Star Runner, Tex, and Rumble Fish. It takes place in the mind of a young boy going through tough times by living on the streets. This book's time period is probably two years after The Outsiders, but in this book, unlike The Outsiders, the characters are different. There is still Ponyboy Curtis, but that is the only character from The Outsiders. S.E. Hinton has written many good books for young readers and this book is no exception. I really enjoyed reading this book and recommend this book for all young readers.
on March 12, 2002
I really enjoyed the book, That was then, This in now. The story was based on two boys that have been friends since they were kids. The plot was based on the lives of the teenagers, many who remind me of the teenagers at my school. The message the author was trying to convey was that people change as they grow up, specifically, children changing to adults. On was the author delivered the message, was through the plot. The main charachter Bryon had to decide whether or not to tell on his best friend for dealing drugs. They had been good friends, but lately had been fading away from eachother. Bryon explains his feelings for Mark in the quote, "I looked at him and suddenly it was like seeing someone across a deep pit, someone you couldn't ever reach." The story is told from Bryons point of few, I think the author made the story more effective, by writing it that way. Throughout the story I couldn't tell what the other charachters were really thinking. The message seemed more effective since it was only conveyed through one main charachter. When I chose this book, I thought it would be good because it was about teenagers, and there struggles with drugs. The booked turned out to be really good, and I couldn't put it down. I would recomend this book to anyone, especially teenagers.
on July 30, 2000
Amazingly realistic characters are the glue to That Was Then, This Is Now, an unpredictable, complicated story about change. S. E. Hinton's main character, Bryon, is so vividly described that the reader begins to envision him as a real, live person. In the beginning of the book, Bryon is tough and hard. Girls are just possessions to him; he dates around and breaks hearts for fun. Bryon starts to come out of this shell as he falls in love and gains sensitivity. His girlfriend, Cathy, helps him to see how special life can be and how much he has been missing. Towards the end of the book, however, as close friends get involved with drugs and Bryon is faced with some difficult choices, his new love of life begins to slip away. Things used to be so simple, but that was then, this is now.
on December 25, 1999
"That was Then, This is Now" was an excellent book. S.E. Hinton did a wonderful job keeping me in suspense the whole time. I read it for a school assignment, but I finished it before my time limit was up because I just couldn't put it down. I felt like I really knew the characters and what they were going through, which was something I had never felt before. All in all, it was a wonderful book filled with laughter and tears, and was not the least bit disappointing.
on February 4, 2000
This book, a semi-sequel to SE Hinton's first novel, the Outsiders, proves to be one of the finest books I've ever read. I'm in my mid-teens now, so I'm not too far from the age of Mark and Bryon.
Right now things have changed so much and now that I've read this book, I understand that these problems are normal and that things do change.
The issues with Mark and Bryon are so complex that they will eat at your skin and hurt you deeply because this stuff is just normal and it can happen to anyone at any time.
Aside from being a guide to reality, she reincorporates some of her older characters and they play nice roles in this story.
All in all, it's one of my favorites. Completely recommended.
on July 17, 2001
That Was Then, This Is Now is a fast-paced and exciting story of drugs, love, and what it's like to be the only one a person cares about. It isn't as coming-of-age as The Outsiders is but serves as kind of a semi-sequel, with a more detailed look at Tim and Curly Shepard and an introduction of their sister Angela. Ponyboy Curtis plays a minor role, this time a sixteen year old and hanging out with other people besides his gang. Bryon, the narrator, even tells the reader that The Dingo, a grease hangout, was bombed, causing the greasers to move to Soc hangouts and thus partially decreasing the Greaser/Soc conflict. Despite this breakthrough, the boys continue to get in any fight they can until the night when one of their friends gets shot because of something they did (may not seem clear, but read the book to find out what I mean). This event deeply affects Bryon, but doesn't even seem to touch Mark's happy, no-regrets outlook on life. When Bryon asks him why he's so unaffected, Mark answers angrily, "Things happen the way they happen. You don't ask 'what if!' You shouldn't start questioning why things happen the way they do, because that's when you get old! You never used to act this way, Bryon..." And near the end when Bryon discovers a tube of pills under the mattress, he is torn between doing what he knows is right or defending his best friend. In the end, there isn't really an exact answer as to what happens between Mark and Bryon and why, but instead we are left with Bryon's questioning; of himself and his life before he "grew up". To me, it wasn't an annoying, what-did-I-even-read-this-for cliffhanger, but a powerful punch that will leave you breathless in it's ruthless portrayal of how drugs can effect you and the ones you care about as quick as the amount of time it takes to call the police.
That shows you what a damn good book this is.
on January 24, 2002
What will Bryon do now that he's found out about Mark's secret, how will he handle this?"
The name of this book is That Was Then, This Is Now and the author of the book is S.E. Hinton. This book takes place back in the 70's and 80's, back when there were socials and greasers. This book is about a boy named Bryon and his friend Mark who grew up together like brothers. Now Bryon and Mark are starting to grow apart from each other Bryon has a new girlfriend, which he spends more time with now, and does not really, spend as much time with Mark. Until one day, Bryon finds out a shocking secret about Mark, and faces difficult decisions that will change his life forever.
That Was Then, This Is Now is one of the greatest books in the world, because it is so dramatic and intriguing. In this book, the author talks about real life incidents that happen to teenagers when they get in bad crowds. This book is very encouraging to many teenagers, because of its realistic features. The author includes different incidents that teenagers face once they grow up and go to high school; it has a good moral because it shows readers what they should not do. You should read this book because, once you read it, you will imagine that you are the protagonist, facing everything. In this book, a teenager faces very difficult decisions, which he does not really know how to solve.
I really enjoy Ms. Hinton's few books. I sure wish she had written a lot more of them in this venue. She has a wonderful grasp of what it is to be young and not always excepted. Her dialogue is amazing and her prose just flows along like a deep river carrying the reader with it. Good for young people struggling and a good way I would think in getting them interested in reading in general. I highly recommend them all.