Penguin Group (USA) LLC
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That Was Then, This Is Now Kindle Edition
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Susan Hinton’s follow-up to “The Outsiders” is another wonderful young-adult novel.
The scenario is much the same...mid-teens on the ‘other side’ of town growing up and finding themselves with ambiguous friends, cohorts and predicaments.
Non-stop action keeps the pages rolling...did Bryon make the right decision? How might one continue this narrative?
Originally published in 1971, the storyline of life’s unpredictability and fickleness remains the same today...no matter one’s age.
The book moves in different actions so that it seems we're reading two novels about two brothers and best friends. In the first novel, Mark and Byron are always by each other's side, and together they witness the fearsome murder of their good friend Charlie, which scars both. In the second novel, there's a love triangle -- Byron has fallen deeply in love with Cathy, and Mark feels abandoned. The novel comes to a climax when Byron commits an act that will forever severe his relationship with both Mark and Cathy.
Like in "The Outsiders", SE Hinton has a gift for understanding and speaking the language of troubled adolescent boys, making us think she is in fact one herself. And the writing is pristine and polished, as always. But the characters are far less compelling than the ones we were entranced by in "The Outsiders," and the plot far more fragile and broken.
Still, many a teenager will find "That was Then, This is Now" speaks to them in the most haunting manner possible.
So true it is based on our life experiences and maybe some luck or lack of, some of us grow up and some take more time to do so. This book nails that experience. I struggle sometimes because I grew up and envy those of my childhood friends that are very much the same people I knew when a teenager.
Whether or not that's a good thing is the focus of this book which which tackles life's questions without apology and complete honest. Read this book. It relates to us all.