Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton

The OutsidersThe OutsidersWhen 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.

I loved this book so much. I'm not sure what time period The Outsiders is set in, but it is set in Oklahoma. There are two types of people "Socs" and "greasers". Ponyboy (yes, that's his real name) is a greaser. He knows the rules: he can count on his brothers and his friends, but not much else. Fun for the Socs is beating up greasers, something Ponyboy's friend Johnny had to go through. But he does know what to expect. Then, something gets taken too far. I won't say what it is, but it is huge. The aftermath of this event will affect everyone in the story.

It's hard to pinpoint what was so great about this book. I suppose it's just the language and the writing. Halfway through the book, I glanced at the author bio and found out that S.E. Hinton (who is a woman incidentally) wrote this book when she was sixteen! Sixteen. And it's better than Eragon, which was written when the author was sixteen. The Outsiders was amazing. The book is so complicated, and narrated only by male characters. She must have infiltrated someone's mind, or just have a talent for character studies. Either way, The Outsiders is an outstanding book.

I love the names in the book too; Ponyboy, Sodapop, Dally...Yes, Ponyboy and Sodapop are their actual names; Ponyboy's deceased parents made them up.

Is the book strictly realistic? I don't know. Ponyboy likes to read literature and is good in school, yet he gets into "rumbles" with his gang, smokes, and does all these "greaser" things. It's kind of contradictory, and Ponyboy, despite his being a greaser, is such a sympathetic character. And a really thoughtful one, too. He waxes philosophical about many things.

This is one of those books where the world portrayed, despite being set in this very country, is so alien. It seems like a whole other universe; it's so hard for me to imagine. And yet, I can imagine it now, thanks to this book. The language of it may be rough (like the characters themselves), yet there were some really moving and some really sad parts.

I loved this one, and would highly, highly, recommend it.

Read The Outsiders:
  • if you like historical fiction
  • if you like classics
  • if you like books set in the city
180 pages.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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