Sunday, August 25, 2013

On the Outside

Things are rough all over is the defining statement of S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders. A classic young adult novel, periodically challenged for violence, strong language, and family dysfunction, it is a short and fascinating read for both teens and adults. Required reading in my 5th grade English class, the story remains my all-time favorite book from school.

Ponyboy Curtis, his brothers, and their gang are known as Greasers - poor, rough, juvenile delinquents who commit crimes and wear too much hair gel. Their rivalry with the Socs (Socials, the gang of rich kids from the good side of town), simmers until one night when Ponyboy and his best friend Johnny are jumped at a neighborhood park. Johnny kills one of the attackers, forcing the two teens to leave town. Problems continue to multiply for Ponyboy, his family and his friends as violence escalates between the gangs.

This is a compelling story, easy to get sucked into, and worth reading. Or rereading. Despite being written over 40 years ago, The Outsiders continues to be popular.


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