Review: The Outsiders

May 24, 2013 Whitney Review 2 Comments

Review: The OutsidersThe Outsiders
Author S.E. Hinton
Publisher Speak
Publication Date April 20, 2006

Ponyboy can count on his brothers and his friends, but not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids who get away with everything, including beating up greasers like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect--until the night someone takes things too far.

Written forty-five years ago, S. E. Hinton's classic story of a boy who finds himself on the outskirts of regular society remains as powerful today as it was the day it was written.

I loved The Outsiders in middle school.  I was always reading books about girl power and in 7th grade I was introduced to some bad-ass boys with a heart of gold.  Although this time I was not as enthralled.  I thought it seemed too rushed.  like trying to fit Gone with the Wind into a 30 minute movie.

I felt like the story was in fast-forward mode.

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Yes, it’s only 180 pages and a young adult book but that short summary is about the pace it went on.  I felt like I had whiplash and hardly stayed in one place long enough to adjust to my surroundings.   In short, it came off as someone with a short attention span.

Obviously, saving children out of a burning building speaks louder than words and shows greasers in a better light.  Ponyboy’s older brother Darry (he also has a brother named Sodapop) shows his love silently, with his reprimands of curfew and grades only showing that he is concerned for Ponyboy’s future and well-being.  Plus, like many young adult books the Curtis boy’s parents are dead, leaving the brothers to grow-up by themselves with Darry taking the stress and responsibility of the Father figure.  Even though Darry was a secondary character I thought he was the best formed in the novel, and because of the qualities mentioned above was the most three-dimensional and could actually picture him as someones older, over-protective brother.

S.E. Hilton was fifteen when The Outsiders was published so I must give her props for that, but I found the descriptions of the characters lackluster and the big fight scene at the end to be ho-hum.  For me, this is a book that is meant to stay for young adults.

The positive, Robert Frost poetry was incorporated into The Outsiders (Nothing Gold Can Stay) which I thought was clever and added substance to these misunderstood boys.  To conclude, from a 13 and 28 year old’s point of view it was a stand-up coming of age story, I just wish it had been better executed.

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2 responses to “Review: The Outsiders

  1. I love Frost's poetry from the time I was ten, so when I read the Outsiders I adored that. I read this back in the sixth grade, ooh 20+ years ago and I wonder what I would think of it now. Wonderful review!

  2. I had to read The Oustiderd for class back in 7th grade. (I'm not telling how long ago, but it was more than Kimba's 20+!) I remember hating it at the time. It was really hyped back then as being gritty and realistic. I was into fantasy; gritty and realistic was NOT my cup of tea, and the city life of these kids was incredibly far from the rural Maryland and small-town NJ I was familiar with. Like Kimba, I wonder what I would think of the book now. I suspect the pace would bother me as much as it does you.

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