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The Outsiders Hardcover – April 24, 1967
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Praise for The Outsiders
"The Outsiders transformed young-adult fiction from a genre mostly about prom queens, football players and high school crushes to one that portrayed a darker, truer world." —The New York Times
"Taut with tension, filled with drama." —The Chicago Tribune
"[A] classic coming-of-age book." —Philadelphia Daily News
"What it's like to live lonely and unwanted and cornered by circumstance...There is rawness and violence here, but honest hope, too." —National Observer
"This remarkable novel gives a moving, credible view of the outsiders from the inside...we meet powerful characters in a book with a powerful message." —The Horn Book
A New York Herald Tribune Best Teenage Book
A Chicago Tribune Book World Spring Book Festival Honor Book
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Winner of the Massachusetts Children's Book Award
About the Author
S. E. Hinton is the author of a number of bestselling and beloved books for young adults, including THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW; RUMBLE FISH, TEX, and of course, THE OUTSIDERS, which was written when she was just 16 years old. She has also written several picture books, a collection of short stories, and a novel for adults. She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma—the setting of THE OUTSIDERS—with her husband. When she is not writing, she enjoys riding horses.
Top customer reviews
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My students are 8th graders at an urban middle school, predominately black and Hispanic and they are obsessed! Even my most reluctant readers are enjoying this novel. They're all excited about seeing the movie too!
The Outsiders, written in 1965 Oklahoma, displays the struggle between two gangs in a town. The narrator, Ponyboy Curtis, his brothers, and friends make up the Greasers. This rag tag group of impoverished guys stick by each other's sides no matter what. They are up against the rich, snooty, Socs. These guys drive around in their expensive cars and jump Greasers to appear cool and intimidate them. In a constant battle between the Socs and Greasers, Ponyboy Curtis discovers there is good and bad in everyone.
The story displays a conflict between two gangs who think they are very different: “Greasers are almost like hoods; we steal things and drive old souped-up cars and hold up gas stations and have a gang fight once in a while” (3). On the other hand, “[Socs] jump greasers and wreck houses and throw beer blasts for kicks and get editorials in the paper for being a public disgrace one day and an asset to society the next” (3). It isn’t safe for a Greaser to walk around alone, for the Socs always pull up in their convertible, hop out, and jump them. The Greasers despise the Socs and the Socs despise the Greasers. This is the case for Ponyboy too until he meets Cherry, the toughest Soc’s girlfriend, he realizes that Socs aren’t all that different after all. Cherry and Ponyboy share many similarities, especially their love for sunsets. With the help of Cherry, Ponyboy realizes the greasers, including himself, misjudged the Socs. Yes, they do get drunk and beat up Greasers for no good reason, but they are human and they have lives outside of how well they can fight. Will Ponyboy get everyone else to see the Socs true colors? Can this ever get better? The conflict remains relevant to society fifty years after it was written because there always seems to be this in-group and out-group.
Not only is the story relevant to society, but it also maintains a young, slangy tone that allows the reader to connect with the characters. S. E. Hinton commented that “these characters are really kind of universal without losing their individuality.” The story, written when the author was only fifteen years old, is told from Ponyboy’s perspective. Ponyboy is a fourteen year old kid living with his two older brothers, Darry and Sodapop. Sodapop is sixteen and Darry is twenty and has custody of Sodapop and Ponyboy since their parents died in a car crash. Ponyboy’s young and optimistic, so his narration draws the reader in. Initially, Ponyboy feels very self-conscious and vulnerable: “I was wishing I looked like Paul Newman- he looks tough and I don’t” (1) He’s the youngest of the gang and looks up to his older, tougher brothers and friends. Within the first few pages, Ponyboy walks home from the movie theater alone and is stopped by Socs. “Need a haircut, greaser?” they ask him, “How’d you like that haircut to begin just below the chin?”(5) His brothers find him, fight back and save him. In Darry and Sodapop’s eyes Ponyboy is still young and fragile. But, as the story advances Ponyboy fights hard to prove the gang wrong. He grows stronger as he learns to be courageous, defend himself, and later in the process meets death face to face. S.E Hinton said “When I write, an interesting transformation takes place. I go from thinking about my narrator to being him,” and this is also how I felt while reading this. Ponyboy is forced to grow up in order to fit in, and as this happens the reader gets to grow with him and see him both thrive and grieve.
With help from family and friends, growing up can be much more manageable and even fun. When reading The Outsiders I could never put the book down. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone looking for an easy read with a timeless story and a powerful message.