Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

The Outsiders
by S. E. Hinton

Summary: According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. 

Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser. 

This classic, written by S. E. Hinton when she was 16 years old, is as profound today as it was when it was first published in 1967.

So, this book... it's not really my usual kind of book. But I loved it. The annoying thing is, I'm not exactly sure why I loved it.


I guess I'll try to figure it out while writing this review.

The writing was good, I really liked it, but it didn't wow me in the way some writing does, it didn't stand out even though there were a couple of pages I marked for quotes (it did surprise me though that it was written by a 16 year old - in hindsight, that does explain some of the kind of...innocent and authentic youthful charm the book had. It also explains why self-proclaimed tough guys aged 14-20 called each other honey or baby a few times in the book...).

“It seemed funny that the sunset she saw from her patio and the one I saw from the back steps was the same one. Maybe the two worlds we lived in weren’t so different. We saw the same sunset.” 

The plot kept me interested all the way through, but it wasn't particularly original to me - it kind of felt West Side Story-ish in a different setting, without the romance (and the romance is the part of West Side Story that I liked best, so it surprised me that this book hooked me without that).

The message/moral of the story was good, it just didn't get to me much because other stories have already revolved around those same issues and this didn't bring anything more to the table than they did in that aspect. The execution of the story felt original to me though, while the groups of young people at war with each other in a gang-like way didn't feel new, the book just felt so different from any other book I've read and I liked that a lot (but then, I've been reading mostly modern YA for ages so this one did have that novelty feel to it).

I guess that leaves me with this: the characters. That's why I loved the book. I really, really adored these characters. The way they were flawed and heartbreaking and funny and the way they cared about each other and became a family even though they weren't all related by blood - they were family in the sense that they may not always like each other, but they'd be there for each other no matter what and I wanted to be in the book to know them, to make them smile and to try to fix them.

I wanted to hug Ponyboy and Johnny and hang out with Dally and Sodapop (normally weird names would irritate the hell out of me but I loved them in this) and I wanted to tell Pony to stop being so blind and see that Darry's just the way he is because he cares and... and... they were just all awesome.

I dunno, I just really loved the characters, enough that I loved the book because of them and would rate it 4 or 4.5 stars out of 5.

I read a few chapters of the book, watched half an hour of the movie, paused the movie to finished the book then went back and watched the rest of the movie (and then proceeded to read the IMDb trivia for the movie and search tumblr for any Outsiders things to reblog, because that's what I do when I love things). As far as book to movie adaptions go, I really liked The Outsiders a lot and the cast was awesome. And I didn't intend to mention the movie in this review, but I really recommend them both.

Stay gold. ;)

2 comments:

  1. I know how you feel. I had to read this book in middle school and I ended up liking it more than I thought I would.

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  2. I need to read this book. I'm ashamed to say I have only watched the movie. But after reading Rob Lowe's STORIES I ONLY TELL MY FRIENDS, in which he talks about how the editing of the movie changed his role tremendously, I need to read the book to compare the two. Thanks for the review!!

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