Hinton, S. E. (2012). The outsiders. New York, NY: Penguin Group US.
ISBN-13: 978-0143039853. Paperback. $11.25
Annotation: In this classic novel, Ponyboy’s life isn’t normal, but he has his older brothers, Darry and Sodapop, along with their fellow Greasers. When Ponyboy and his friend, Johnny, get in trouble with a rival gang, they have to go into hiding, but life isn’t meant to be hidden as Ponyboy will find out.
Ponyboy Curtis is starting to feel trapped. He can’t walk home on his own or go out with other Greasers without getting into some sort of trouble with the Socs, the rich rival gang from the West side. His older brothers Darry and Sodapop try to provide and keep their family afloat, but it means Ponyboy has to focus on school and staying away from to the Socs. Everywhere he turns the Socs are there. After getting in a fight with Darry, Ponyboy and Johnny, a fellow Greaser, end up in a vacant lot late at night and get into a fight with the Socs. Johnny stabs and kills a Soc, and Johnny is injured. Ponyboy and Johnny try to lay low, avoiding other Socs and the police, but Johnny ends up dying due to his injuries. Another Greaser, named Dallas, is killed by cops soon after Johnny’s death. Ultimately, Ponyboy starts losing his mind with grief and guilt over his friends’ deaths and his brothers’ sacrifices. So he writes The outsiders to help make a difference in others lives and to help understand his own.
The outsiders was the first book I enjoyed reading in seventh grade that my teacher assigned. I liked that Ponyboy’s thoughts sounded like my thoughts even though I have never been in a gang, and I am not a teen boy. I was again struck with how well Hinton captures his feelings. Not only does Ponyboy feel guilty for going to school and doing well while his brothers work, he feels guilty to have survived his neighborhood and being in a gang unlike Johnny Dallas, and Bob. At the same time, Ponyboy wants freedom, or he thinks he does, from being a Greaser or being the younger brother of the handsome Darry and charismatic Sodapop. Although I haven’t experienced the same things as Ponyboy, I remember being as forgetful, (judgmental), and confused as he was at fourteen. Similarly, writing saved me too. I would recommend that teens either purchase this book second hand, or get it from the library, mostly because since it just celebrated its 50th anniversary, the price has gone up for physical copy. I think this would work well for teens especially those entering high school. However, I could see younger teens in middle school read this book, which is when I personally read it. Any thoughts?
Awards: New York Herald Tribune Best Teenage Books List, 1967, Chicago Tribune Book World Spring Book Festival, Honor Book, 1967, Media and Methods Maxi Award, 1975, ALA Best Young Adult Books, 1975, Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, 1979, Books I Loved Best Yearly (BILBY) Awards for Secondary (1991).
There are a lot of Pinterest boards with The Outsiders quotes, pictures, and other topics, like wardrobes or possible actor cast.