November 1, 1997
Classic - Young Adult - Coming of Age
Greasers vs. Socs. Rich vs. Poor. East side vs. West side. The list goes on and on, and for Ponyboy, his brothers, and his friends, this was everyday life. A consistent battle, between being true to oneself and loyal to the gang, Ponyboy’s journey is difficult. Then when his life is at risk and a friend sticks up for him, all things quickly change. As Ponyboy starts questioning the why behind his and his friend’s actions, he wonders if this is as good as it gets.
S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, was a reread for me to better assist my eighth grader. At first, I was a little shocked with the content and was baffled this was an assigned novel for middle school. Beginning with a slew of violence, followed with borderline profanity, and unrelenting disrespect for authority, there was no way this could be appropriate for thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds.
Then I took a step back, and looked at this story not from a parental point of view, but through the eyes of a child going through these horrific challenges, and it hit me. My own kid, and/or classmates, could potentially be one of these characters being written about, and it clicked. That was the point S.E. Hinton was portraying. Pulling from her own truth she wrote an epic tale that could resonate with all youth. However, continuing to stay with my rating template, a 4 out of 5 stars is given.
Since this story is a tale where gangs are at the forefront, some actions may cause distress. Please read with caution if affected by any of the following: muggings, hand to hand fighting, knife and gun violence, gangs, bullying, school dropout, self-defense, court hearings, imprisonment, juvenile detention, underage drug and alcohol use, mangled and bloody bodies, death of parents, and murder.
A time-honored classic circling around family, community, and issues associated with coming of age this is a book for all to enjoy.