Title: The Outsiders
Author: S.E. Hinton
Publisher: Puffin Books
Copyright date: 1997
Ponyboy is the younger of the Curtis brothers, all members of the gang the Greasers whose rival are the Socs, short for Socials, they’re the rich kids who like to cause trouble. When Ponyboy comes out a movie theater and is jumped by a group of Socs, his two brothers Darrel and Sodapop along with a few other Greasers, save him. When the next night Ponyboy and a couple friends run into two of the Soc’s girlfriends it sets off a series of events that no one quite recovers from.
When Bob, on of the Soc’s is killed the rivalry escalates Ponyboy and Johnny hide out for a few days in a church. When the church catches on fire, the boys attempt to rescue the orphans trapped inside. Though the boys are called heroes, Johnny back gets broken when a beam from the church falls on him; he dies a few days later.
The real struggle of the book is Ponyboy’s desire for a life beyond the Greasers and the book ends with his writing an essay for his English class about the clashes between the Greasers and the Socs.
The Outsiders is a violent depiction of gang violence in the 1960’s where being from the other side of the tracks was enough to label you as not good enough. Hinton’s writing is superb and she creates characters that despite their violent nature, you truly feel for them and understand their actions.
The Greasers and the Socs are rival games in the middle of a violent turf war, will Ponyboy be able to escape with his life or will he be another casualty of war?
Who Should Read It
The Outsiders deals with the differences in the socioeconomic lives of teenagers in the 1950’s and how they dealt with their issues.
Why I Read It
A classic coming of age novel, almost every one of my male friends read as a teenager.
S. E. Hinton wrote The Outsiders when she was still a teenager, publishing it in 1967, when she was just 18-years old. In addition to her young adult novels, Hinton has written for both children and adults. Four of her five young adult novels have been turned into feature films.
*Coming of Age
*Young Adult Fiction
*Why do you think Ponyboy tried to convince himself that he was the one that killed Bob?
*Knowing Ponyboy’s character, do you think he made a life for himself away from the Greasers?
Reading Level/Interest Age