Review of “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton
Calais Solis – Grade 8
The Outsiders starts off in the city of Tulsa, focusing on a young man, Ponyboy and his Greaser-gang. Life is how it should be: Greasers fighting Socs and Socs fighting Greasers. Nothing too exciting happens; Ponyboy and Darry still can’t stand each other after the death of their parents, and Dally still can’t keep himself out of trouble. After a fight with his eldest brother Darry, Ponyboy runs away with Johnny (his best friend), and finds out quickly that it wasn’t such a good idea. A group of Socs approach them and start beating them up. But when they are close to killing Pony, Johnny flips out his switchblade and stabs Bob — the leader of the clan, accidently killing him. Scared and afraid, Johnny and Ponyboy hide away in an old church for a few days before Dally comes and gets them, and a huge fire breaks out in the church. They come to realize that several children are trapped inside the burning church and decide to rescue them, but sadly the burning roof caves, leaving Johnny’s back broken. While in the hospital, Pony and Dally bring the good news to Johnny, that the Greasers won the rumble, settling the turf war. However tragically and abruptly Johnny dies. Dally can’t take the trauma and loses it. He robs a local store and gets shot several times by the police.
After a long, hard recovery, Pony returns to school, however he receives low grades. His english teacher agrees to pass him with a C if he writes an adequate theme. Later, Ponyboy finds a note, hidden in a copy of Gone with the Wind that Johnny gave to him before he died. It states how much he will miss them, how he will die with honour and pride; it also tells Ponyboy to “stay gold”. This prompts Pony to write his theme on the crises and recent experiences that have been taking place around him: events of friendship, honour, dignity and emotion.
I first picked up this book because of its popularity, great reviews, and because I forgot to bring in a book to school. And just one page in I was hooked! I don’t have one negative comment about this book, other than I wish it lasted longer. The pace of this story was perfect, and I loved the writing style. I was intrigued from the very beginning, but even more so when I found out the history of this novel: S.E. Hinton was only fifteen when she wrote this book, and it was originally supposed to be a short story for english class! It certainly was an exceptional piece of fiction, and later went on to be published. However, the characters were introduced very fast at the beginning of the story, and I found myself having to go back and read the beginning again. On the other hand, I liked how the concise and relatively easy language can contain such rich descriptions. In fact, the character description was so detailed that I felt I’d known these boys for years while reading. In conclusion, I give this book a 10/10, and I look forward to reading more books by this author.
Calais Solis (grade8)