The Outsiders
by S.E. Hinton

Penguin Group, 1967, 180 pp., $6.99
ISBN 0-14-038572

Ponyboy was running away from his two brothers and thinking, why did my big brother hit me in the face-- what did I do to him? Just because Johnny and I fell asleep at the vacant lot. After we woke up we got home as soon as possible. When I got home it felt like a wave of anger hit me straight in the face.

If this event happened to me I would never go back to where I lived because if I had a older brother and he hit me I would get really mad and would not go to my house and I would not talk to him unless he said he was sorry or something like that.

S.E. Hinton’s novel The Outsiders is an action packed story that grabs and holds your interest and attention. Because of the way she draws you into the story. She tells the story like its really happening right before your eyes.

The main characters Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade, Steve Randle, Dallas Winston, Darry Curtis, Twobit Matthews and Soda Curtis are the gang ‘the greasers’. The ‘greasers’ are a gang of kids who are poor. They have long hair and grease it back. Most people would say that the ‘greasers’ are rebels who are always getting in trouble. PonyBoy whose two older brothers are SodaPop and Darry narrates it. The three boys are orphans after a car accident kills their two parents. The eldest, Darry, is left to provide for them.

The “Greasers” are always going up against another gang called the Socs. The Socs are a gang of kids who live on the west side of town and are rich. They like to get into fights with the ‘greasers’—just for the fun of it. Pony and Johnny get into a real mess when they start to hang out with the girlfriends of some of the Socs. That was a big mistake and lots of bad stuff happens. A big fight happens between Bob (Socs) and Johnny (Greaser). Things get out of control. This is not the first time Johnny and Bob have fought. Bob had already beaten the crap out of Johnny—and he was not going to let that happen again.

For many readers the character who stand out most strongly is Johnny. He the one who is always getting beat up and cut up and finally at the end of the book something  bad happens to poor Johnny. I can’t reveal to you what happens--you are going to have to read the book. Pony tells the story--but most of the amazing stuff happens to Johnny.

Pony and Johnny have to hide out at a church... While they hang out they get to know each other. And then another bad thing happens. The church starts on fire. They both want to run but there are other kids trapped. They know they have to do the right thing. So they don’t run away, but instead stay and help get the other kids out. Johnny gets burned real bad and he breaks his back when boards collapse on him.

Readers who like high action, romance, sadness and family--this is the book for you.  The Outsiders, is a story about “coming of age” through the eyes of Ponyboy. As Ponyboy learns right from wrong, so do we. In the end Pony has to grow up and face lots of different truths. Most of all he has learned that things have to change and so does he. Its time for him to grow up.

The Outsiders is very moving story. It makes you want to hold your family tight as you can. When the author is talking about how they bond as a gang and as a family you really want to make sure that your family is safe and hang on to them for the rest of your life.

~ reviewed by Tobias