on 14 February 2007
I initially read this book for the first time in high school in 1983, the same year the movie was released. I still have that copy, which has seen better days. I remember the story and the characters drawing me in from the start. It's a classic coming of age tale of kids from the wrong side of the tracks struggling to fit in and fighting against those who view them as outcasts.
Not only do I find it a great read even as an adult, I feel it is as relevant today as when first published in 1967, showing that whether rich or poor, all teenagers are essentially the same, having the same concerns and fears and angst. The book speaks to kids in an unpatronizing fashion, and will continue to resonate with many long after they've turned the last page. After all, what kid hasn't been in Ponyboy's and his brothers' and friends' shoes at some point -- misunderstood and being put down simply for who they are, or aren't?
I have no doubt those who have read and enjoyed The Outsiders, both kids and adults, will enjoy the other Hinton greats (That Was Then, This Is Now; Tex and Rumblefish), in addition to other troubled teen novels such as The Catcher in the Rye, The Amboy Dukes and American Odyssey.
on 3 December 2006
What can I say? I am finally writing this review after reading the outsiders for the eighth time. Literally. For me, this book had everything and then some. Hinton makes us feel happiness, sorrow, despair and hope within a few hundred pages, leaving us breathless and hungry for more. She wrote this book when she was just seventeen, similar to the ages of most of the characters in the book and we really live the story with the characters.
Ponyboy is a greaser. A lower class, vunerable fourteen year old kid who has to grow up much too fast in order to survive. Having lost his parents before the start of the book, Ponyboy and his brother Soda (16) - a reckless, cheeky, high school drop-out - have to adjust to being raised by their oldest brother Darry, who works two jobs to keep them all off the street. As if this isn't hard enough, they constantly have to be on their guard against vicious attacks from rival gangs of the upper class 'soc's', the social elites. With their friends hot-headed Steve, tough, cool Dally, Wise-cracking Two-bit and world-weary Johnny they get by as best they can. Until the night someone takes things too far and Ponyboy is thrown into a world of terror and despair. Ponyboy has to decide what is important in a world where the only things you can count on are your friends and the fact that being born poor means never being good enough, no matter how hard you try.
They grew up on the edge of society. They weren't looking for a fight, they were looking to belong.
on 17 July 2007
I must be one of the oldest persons to read and write a review of this book. I am in my late 50s and first read The Outsiders with my son when he was in middle school, years ago. I recently picked up the book again and read it all the way through. I had forgotten how quickly the story "grabs" you and how difficult it is to put the book down once you have gotten into the book. Yes, there are certain aspects of the story which are dated; but all in all, teens today face most of the same problems with peer pressure today as they did 40 years ago when this book was written (and when I was a teenager): being judged unfairly by others, being called names and made fun of, feeling isolated because they are "different", suffering the absence of parents or family members who really care and take time to listen and encourage them, and feeling the difference in social class, between kids whose families have money, education and status, and those whose working-class or single-parent families struggle every day just to survive. I highly recommend this book, especially to anyone under the age of 18, although it's a great read for anyone!
on 12 May 2003
I read the book while at High School, and was really into it. Its basically just a story of how kids who live on the rough side of town, and whose parents aren't round or don't care survive. There's alot of attitude in this book, and I promise you'll be gripped, but at the same time find a soft spot for the charaters as they have their weaknesses. Once you've the read the book, I'd recommend watching the movie, as it has a young Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise and Diane Lane. All ages will love this book.
on 19 September 2001
I first saw the film when I was about 10. (oh yes there's a film with the original Brat Pack- Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon to name but a few.)I saw it with my mum and sister and all three of us sobbed. When I found out it was a book I rushed out to buy it. Never has a book had such an impact on me. I have read it dozens of times and never tire of it. I think it works because even though it is a children's book adults too love it. I am 22 and I dont think I will ever stop being amazed. For my English GCSE I had to do a book comparison. I chose The Outsiders and Compared it with J D Salingers The Catcher in the Rye. My English teacher agreed with me and for him to put another book on a par with the master Salinger is a real compliment. This is a book that everybody should read at least once in their life. Thank you S E Hinton. (Try some of her others such as "That was Then This is Now" and "Rumblefish".)
on 13 September 2003
I read ALOT of books, and only 3 have made me cry, 1 of them being the Amber Spyglass, 1 the Lord of the Flies and the other this. S.E Hinton is an excellent author, I've read all of her books countless times. It amazes me how she can write about horrible, but true things and still make them strangely compelling. She has the rare gifts of being able to keep the reader hooked in suspense and worrying for the safety of the characters. I love the way the main character, Ponyboy, puts up with the truth and speaks his mind, even though he's only a kid. This book was so good, I spent a whole day reading it and re-reading it, and each time I found a hidden meaning within the words. I know it so well, I sometimes even find myself receiting whole paragraphs that I have remembered!! I recommend this book to anyone who wants an excellent, to-true-to-believe read, and I warn them that when you've finished the book, you'll have alot to think about.
on 4 February 1999
As a sixteen year old I have very clear ideas of which books I do and do not like. "The Outsiders" not only manages to pack a fast paced and exciting adventure between its covers, it also deals with the moving and important issues of family, class and hopes for the future. The relationships between the characters, true to life and blatently honest are one of the strongest parts in the book. A tremendous and heart piercing work.
on 27 April 2004
Having read more books than I can count and being an extremely hard personto please (ask anyone who knows me) I can honestly say, hand on heart,that this is one of the most touching books I have ever read.
At first glance the writting may seem somewhat simplistic and I have readother's reviews who think it is obvious that a 16 year old wrote the book,however I think that the book has an amazing amount of depth and can beinterpreted in so many different ways that it is anything butsimplistic.
This book is a remarkable story of friendship, devotion and learning toappreciate and understand all aspects of life and I would recommend it toanyone who likes a compelling read, different to all the typical, yet sopopular, mills and boons and sweet valley series.
on 24 June 2016
This book has been lurking on my shelf for God knows.
I remember reading it years ago, but all that I remembered were the names. But, who could forget Ponyboy and Sodapop. I even remember Darry and Johnny since they were so plain in comparison.
I have very mixed feelings about the book, but I like it. It’s a strange notion when you can find more wrong than good but still love it.
But, I’ll start with what’s wrong in the book.
For one, it’s a very short book for so much to happen in it. A lot of the book felt rather rushed at times, not fully appreciating the severity of some scenes and the detail needed to fully pull them off. But I do think the author might have been uncomfortable writing out death scenes, which when she wrote this she was very young which could account for this, the death scenes seemed rushed and with a lack of emotion.
I struggled with the language, maybe since I don’t like to use too much slang and this book is full of it. But, I’m also Scottish so the slang will be very different to what I’d hear on the day to day but also I don’t know much about gangs nor have I read many books on it to know what any of those sorts of references are. So I felt I spent a lot of time searching what all these different things were.
I also felt as though it wasn’t very consistent, one minute describing the colours in the sunset. Then the next offering no detail at all to work from. I don’t mind a lack of detail, in fact I loathe when a book does nothing but describe things for me. It takes away the imagination needed for me to fully grasp the book.
Now for the better stuff, the good points.
The characters are all unique, they all have different personalities and they show through.
Ponyboy has kept his unique childlike innocence even though he lost his parents and was raised around gangs and rumbles. He may partake in a lot of the activities but he still has the voice of reason that so many of us lose with age and experience. He still sees it as strange that two friends could turn to hate because of what side they are on.
A lot happens, I hate books that it’s all centred on one small thing and there’s no addition to it. This, this has a lot going on and kept me interested all the way through.
I found it to be a very unique read, maybe other gang books are the same or even better. But for me it wasn’t quite like anything else. I usually end up with highly detailed and brutal crime books. But not always. This wasn’t brutal in most ways, nothing brutal happened. But it was still enjoyable and a nice change to the usual.
on 23 September 2015
From my blog: themadt-party.blogspot.com
There's something that's so plain about the writing in this book that just makes it feel so real (not shallow by any means), Hinton does an incredible job of writing in first person narrative to convey such a sense of innocence yet intelligence in a young boy. Ponyboy wasn't a complex character as what he wanted was often very simple at times – to be left alone by the socs, but his thoughts were anything but simple. Ponyboy is a thinker and appears wiser than some of the older boys at times, but there's always a sense of fragility about him that you can't help but adore. The conversational tone to the writing made you immediately feel like Ponyboy is confiding in you when he says things such as "I was wishing I looked like Paul Newman...but I guess my own look's aren't so bad". From the first page you feel welcomed into Ponyboy's world as you learn about his most intimate pondering's."When I see a movie with someone it's kind of uncomfortable, like having someone read your book over your shoulder".
The relationships that the boys have with each other contain so many layers to them and it's incredible to see how the dynamics change between them as the novel progresses. Darry is Ponyboy and Soda's older brother who had to step up to the plate when their parents died and take care of his brothers. Darry takes his role seriously and tries to keep a tight leesh on the boys, but Ponyboy always feels like Darry is resentful towards him and that he only loves SodaPop. Well everyone loves SodaPop because he's the easy going, movie star handsome, charmer who could do no harm. Johnny is the second youngest member of the group after Ponyboy – 'The pet' of the group, but this is not the sole reason why he has such a timid and frightful disposition as he has it rough at home and uses the boys as an escape. Two – Bit is such a hilarious character who always tries to keep a jovial air about him,either because of being drunk or because he's happy that he's going to drink. Steve is the boy we get to learn the least about as he mainly sees Ponyboy as an annoyance but has been best friends with SodaPop since Ponyboy can remember. And then there's Dally Winston who you can't help but love to hate until you just end up loving him, he's depicted as the most cut throat and wild member of the group that nobody would want to rumble against. He's unpleasant, mean and nobody tells him what to do but he's fiercely loyal too.
The boys as individuals are fascinatingly unique and interesting characters, so when they come together as a group of greasers it creates something truly remarkable. All issues aside the boys are a makeshift family for one another, when the real thing isn't there, doesn't care or can't control them. Ponyboy has his set opinions of the boys, but sees them all so differently once chaos starts to unfold around him and realises just how truly they do need one another, although he claims to not even like members of the group at times. But deep down he wanted something more for all of them as he realises that the socs and the greasers aren't as different as they seem. It was vital for me (and I'm glad that Hinton did this) that there wasn't really any romantic relationships as it would of distracted from the brotherhood of the greasers.
This novel is unforgettable as it's so moving in how it documents the struggles that these boys face yet highlights how things aren't much greener on the other side, there are also such poignant moments and thought provoking ideas Ponyboy presents as he starts to mature and states things like "A guy that'll really listen to you, listen and care about what you're saying, is something rare". I'll forever be quoting this book because it's just full of nuggets of gold. I urge you to read this and then go and indulge in the film which seems to be an Elvis soundtrack, so you can't go wrong!!!!