Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.S.E. Hinton's classic coming of age novel The Outsiders. [insert chorus of gasps] And I have no idea why either, though really it's my own fault. I did see the movie years ago and remember loving it and also remember my mom telling me that the book was a million times better (of course) but for some odd twist of fate, I never settled down with The Outsiders myself. Which is a crying shame to be sure. A couple of weeks ago, I came across it at a book sale and took it for the sign it was. I decided NOW was the time I would read this slim classic. A few hours and a head full of endlessly quotable passages later, I sat there stunned and in awe. Ponyboy and Sodapop, the responsible Darry, the tragic Johnny, and on-the-edge Dally - each and every single one of them wormed themselves into my heart, determined never to let go.
I think what wrinkles my brain the most is the fact that Ms. Hinton was only sixteen years old when The Outsiders was published. Drawing upon her own experiences between the haves and have-nots, she crafted something so honest yet harsh in its stark reality, utterly unlike any other 'teen' novel that had come before.
This sorta comes from left field, but is it just me or did anyone else find themselves flashing back to scenes from West Side Story while reading The Outsiders? Maybe because I'm such a theater nerd but over and over again, I found myself reading about the Socs and Greasers yet picturing the Jets and Sharks facing off in turf rumbles or singing about the crummy justice system in "Gee, Officer Krupke" - which was stuck in my head for days later thankyouverymuch.
So now, I'm happy to say I'm hooked on S. E. Hinton and her brand of reality. After searching around a bit I discovered she has quite a few other novels floating around, but where to go next? That Was Then, This is Now? Rumble Fish? Tex? I need direction and I'm looking to you, my dear blogging friends, for suggestions. Which S.E. Hinton book should I pick up next?