Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Flashback: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Books don't have to be new to be deserving of a review! On Fridays I flashback to some of my favorite books of all-time.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

"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 Ponyboy's tale.  In his world, there are two types of people: Socs (the haves) and Greasers (the have nots), and never the twain shall meet. A proud Greaser, Ponyboy dresses and acts the part, even while he studies hard and does well in school.  Then a confrontation between Socs and Greasers goes horribly awry.  While hiding from authorities, Ponyboy ponders life and questions the rigid social structure he's always accepted.

What can be written about The Outsiders that hasn't already been written by reviewers more critical, analytical and talented than I?  Probably not much.  A coming of age story with echoes of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, S.E. Hinton's first novel (written when she - yes, SHE! - was a teenager) is a true member of the young adult canon.  Some say it was even the first.  While underage drinking, smoking, gang violence and indications of teenage sex (though none happens on-screen) have kept censors busy for decades as they've worked to take the book off school reading lists and out of libraries, it remains one of the most assigned and best loved teenage tales.  And with good reason.  Inside the cover of this short novel are big ideas about identity, acceptance and the value of a person.  Sure, the character names are goofy, and they slang used is outdated, but the story itself is timeless.

Recommended for: all readers!  This is a must-read for anyone who reads YA lit (and even those who look down on it).

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  1. Can I take credit for some of this info coming from my class? ;-)

  2. Absolutely! That was my favorite class of graduate school. The credit is all yours.

  3. No, not *all* mine. First of all, it would have been a very boring class indeed if I had spent the entire time talking to myself. Second, I know that there're ideas in the above that we didn't talk about (like "acceptance and the value of a person").

    Thank you for the kind words, though!