The Outsiders by SE Hinton.
This is another book that is often shortlisted as a (relatively) modern day classic. Strangely enough I saw the film many moons ago when I was a young girl growing up but had never actually read the novel. After a quick decision at work one day a few others and myself decided to set up a Book Club and this was the book that was selected.
Right from the start it’s hard to think you are reading a book, the style of writing is so casual that you almost feel as though you’re sat with Ponyboy as he tells you his story. Because of this it makes the characters so much more believable and really brings to life the world in which Ponyboy and his friends live.
There are two groups of people Greasers young men with violent tendencies and way too much oil in their hair and Socs young men from the richer part of town with crisp shirts and plenty of violent arrogance. This book isn’t just about society categorising people based on their looks and where they live but about the divide and pointless violence that is borne out of ignorance and lack of guidance.
When Ponyboy and Johnny are attacked by a group of Socs one night and a Soc ends up dead at the hands of Johnny, the pair must go into hiding. From this moment on this book takes a turn and becomes so much harsher and painfully realistic. You begin to see the frail nature of the relationships and the characters that appear so strong or tough on the outside. When you scratch the surface you begin to realise that this gang of ‘outsiders’ are lost young men, looking for a break and a better tomorrow.
It was easy to fall in love with the characters of this book, you feel frustrated on their behalf and there are two particularly heart breaking deaths which only make the injustice the boys feel so much more hurtful. I can see why it’s such a classic and what’s even more surprising is the fact that SE Hinton was just 15 years old when she wrote this. Perhaps it was due to her age that made the use of language so much more authentic and the emotions so easy to portray, I’m not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears towards the end. An incredible novel, which I would recommend to anyone, especially those who are fans of the film.
Star Rating out of 5: 4.5
‘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.’
Happy reading fellow bookworms.