Ahoy there me mateys! Me nephew recommended this one to me. It happens to be one of his summer vacation reads. He said it was both very good and short. This amounts to a very high recommendation from him. So I thought I would give it a shot even though I didn’t know what it was about. I thought it was a sci-fi judging just by the title. Nope. It’s a young adult coming of age story.
I have to say that overall I thought this was highly compelling. It involves Ponyboy (yes, really) who belongs to a gang of “greasers.” He is being raised by his older brothers. His gang fights with the Socs (pronounced SOSH-es) who are the rich boys from the other side of town. The thing is, Ponyboy is only fourteen, rather intelligent, and sensitive. As the fighting ratchets up, there are some serious consequences that cause Ponyboy to mature and change his view on life.
This book gave me the feel of catcher in the rye or a separate peace even though the circumstances and writing of the three are very different. Perhaps it is because they were written around the same decade. Of those three, I do prefer a separate piece. That said, the outsiders has some truly memorable characters and some very heartwarming relationships. It grabbed me attention and didn’t let go until the final page.
I found Ponyboy to be a loving, thoughtful, and rather insightful person. Even though he hangs out with “hoods,” he isn’t quite one of them. He watches sunsets, reads books, and doesn’t mind being a loner most of the time. I particularly loved his relationship with Johnny. It was sweet and sorrowful. Actually Johnny was a mascot for the whole gang in a good way. Though Johnny’s life was particularly hard, his friends cherished him despite their hard exteriors. This allowed for the reader to see the gang’s softer side.
While the plot is engaging, it is Ponyboy’s commentary and viewpoints that are the foundation of the enjoyment of the book. I can see why it is considered a classic and I be grateful to me nephew for recommending this one. So I pass along the recommendation to me crew . . .
Side note: I did not know that this novel was written by a sixteen year old girl back in 1967. She received the contract for the book on graduation day. Cool, huh? Also I have never seen the movie though it has quite the cast.
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.
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