The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

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.
Confession time here folks: Up until a few weeks ago, I had never read 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?


Janicu said...

Oh they're all good. I think I glommed onto this author when I was in high school. My suggestion is to read THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW next because it's connected to THE OUTSIDERS. Then try RUMBLE FISH / TEX.

Angiegirl said...

Yup. What Janice said. Definitely go with THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW. I did the same thing way back when. Blew through her entire catalogue after reading THE OUTSIDERS. Those are some good memories right there. I enjoyed TAMING THE STAR RUNNER a lot as well.

Great choice for RF, btw! So glad you've read it. I never felt the whole West Side Story thing too heavily, mostly because of the lack of star-crossed lovers, I think. And because I was so into the brothers relationship and Pony and Jonny. *sigh*

Alethea said...

Thanks for finding my blog, Michelle! And I think not reading The Outsiders has been serious summer reading neglect on my part. I'll have to pick that up tomorrow :D

Michelle said...

Janice - Thanks! I don't know how I missed out in HS, but I'm making up for lost time now ;)

Angie - On the way to track it down right..NOW. You do have a thing for brothers btw, don't you?

Althea - Happy to find you online! I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!