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Stories & Book Reviews

A place to read my stories and thoughts on the books I have read. Find links to sites related to writing & reading as I discover them. A blog may appear as I uncover the wonders and downfalls of writing and life. A place that will develop over time.

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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton

Reviewed by Sally Shaw

The Outsiders (first published in the USA by The Viking Press, 1967) a story about those moments in life when there’s no place to fit and times when there is a struggle between not knowing and realisation.

A fourteen-year-old boy named Ponyboy, is the narrator of his own story. ‘When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home. I was wishing I looked like Paul Newman—he looks tough and I don’t—but I guess my own looks aren’t so bad. I have light-brown, almost-red hair and greenish-grey eyes.’ Through Ponyboy’s thoughts as he leaves the movie house the reader is introduced to his two older brothers Darry and Soda. As he decides to walk home and is worried he thinks whom would and wouldn’t have come to the movies with him, and so we are introduced to the rest of the Greasers. From the toughest Dallas (Dally) to the one everyone wants to protect Johnny. ‘If you can picture a little dark puppy that has been kicked too many times and is lost in a crowd of strangers, you’ll have Johnny.’

Darry is the head of the Greasers and he is the head of Ponyboy’s family since the death of their parents. Ponyboy doesn’t feel he quite fits the Greasers as he likes to read and going to the movies. He never gets it right in the eyes of Darry at home or school. But when he’s with Johnny he’s Ponyboy and they talk and he reads out loud to Johnny.

As Ponyboy makes his way home and we get to know the Greasers, it becomes clear the reason he wishes he had a ride home. ‘Anyway, I went on walking home, thinking about the movie, and then suddenly wishing I had some company. Greasers can’t walk alone too much or they’ll get jumped, or someone will come by and scream “Greaser!” at them, which doesn’t make you feel too hot, if you know what I mean. We get jumped by the Socs. I’m not sure how to spell it, but it’s the abbreviation for the Socials, the jet set, the West-side rich kids. It’s like the term “greaser”, which is used to class all us boys on the East Side.’ Ponyboy does get jumped by the Socs and the story develops from this point. He refers to the fact he didn’t get it as bad as Johnny did when he was jumped by the Socs and he feels guilty.

Ponyboy’s narrative is wonderful. I observed his world from his perspective. It was a world unfamiliar to me and yet he was experiencing emotions and dilemmas that could be familiar to anyone’s world. He took me on a journey with him and Johnny, taken one night when one of them takes action that will have consequences on theirs and other people’s life’s that no one could have predicted.

Through Ponyboy’s voice S.E. Hinton is able to tell the story of youths that appear to be on the edge of society, while being locked into a way of life that they may or may not wish to follow. The Outsiders is a story of a lifestyle that is different from the one I live and yet it I see Ponyboy, Johnny and the other characters a not that different from me.

The Outsiders is a timeless story, because it’s about life and that happens no matter what.


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