Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Review: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

ISBN: 9780142407332
Published: April 20th, 2006 (originally published in 1967)
Publisher: Speak
Read from October 17th to 20th, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ponyboy can count on his brothers and his friends, but not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids who get away with everything, including beating up greasers like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect--until the night someone takes things too far.
Written forty-five years ago, S. E. Hinton's classic story of a boy who finds himself on the outskirts of regular society remains as powerful today as it was the day it was written.


This was one of the books that I had to read for my adolescent literature class, and while it wasn't one of my absolute favorites that I've read for that class, I did really enjoy it. I also just learned that the author was a teenager when she wrote this book, and that makes it all the more impressive to me. I really had no idea what to expect going into it. I had heard of the book before, but I'd never actually heard what it was about. I definitely hadn't expected things to go the way they did in the book.

I really enjoy how the book takes a very complicated situation and is able to show both sides of it. Even though the book is told from Ponyboy's point-of-view and he's a Greaser, you still get to see the humanity of the Socs. They aren't painted any more negatively than the Greasers. You learn about the good and the bad in each of the groups. I thought that was a very nice touch to the book instead of just treating one side as the villains and not showing any sympathy for them. They're all teenagers after all, and they all have good sides, even if they're following along with the others and it leads to bad things.

At the same time, I did think some of the characters' behavior was a little odd. They didn't act like you would typically think gang members would act. They seemed way too touchy-feely and willing to show affection for it to be entirely believable to me. I'm sure the author wanted to paint them in a positive light, but I have a hard time believing any gang would act like that so openly with each other, even if they really did care for each other. Plus, the book did include murder, and it was a bit hard to be okay with that, even though you see how human the characters are.

Overall, I thought it was an enjoyable book, but it definitely wasn't one of my favorites.

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