Book Review: The Outsiders

Alaina Galasso, Opinions Editor

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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton remains my favorite book since I read it for the first time in seventh grade. Although most were forced to read it as a school requirement in middle school, those who missed out should definitely give it a read. This book singlehandedly changed my life with its excellent storyline, exquisite writing and wonderful characters. However, what’s most inspiring about this story to me is the fact that S.E. Hinton wrote most of it while she was only 15. To write such an incredible, monumental, life-changing novel at such a young age is a truly difficult feat.

The Outsiders can be described in many ways, but any back cover of the book doesn’t do it justice. The story follows 14-year-old Ponyboy Curtis who lives with his two brothers, Darry and Sodapop, and has a group of friends who would do anything for one another. Their group deals with struggles facing their stereotypes, since they are considered “Greasers” and their opposing group, the “Socs”. The two groups are divided based on where they live and how much money they have. Things get taken too far one night, and from then on it’s a whirlwind of violence and emotions for the Greasers.

This story really struck me when I first read it. At first it seemed boring; the writing appears simple and the storyline typical. And then I found myself growing attached to the characters. Their every characteristic stuck with me because it was all so unique and different. Hinton does a spectacular job of giving you insight on the unseen issues in the 1960’s. By the end of the book, after all the plot twists and heart-racing moments, you clearly understand Hinton’s message without her spelling it out.

My favorite poem, used in the Outsiders, is Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost. It reads “Natures first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; but only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf; so Eden sank to grief. So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.” If anything, this poem really reflects on the meaning of this book. It describes how nothing perfect can stay forever; how everything must end at some point.  The Outsiders has taught me to get the most out of everything while I can, and to try to “stay gold”.

 

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