The Outsiders – Book Review

Samantha Zakrzewski, Staff Writer,

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The Outsiders, written by S.E.Hinton, follows two rival groups- the Socs and the Greasers. The Socs are from the rich side and the Greasers are from the poor side of this small town in Oklahoma. Both groups despise each other because they do not understand each other. Instead of getting to know one another, the two groups chose to fight. The Socs found the Greasers to be good targets, since they had no money or power. The Greasers were jealous of the Socs because they had everything the Greasers didn’t have. The Greasers could be identified by their greasy hair and ratty clothes. The Socs could be recognized by their fancy clothes and cars.

But The Outsiders does more than tell the story of two rival groups. It also teaches readers valuable life lessons that will follow them for the rest of their lives. One life lesson is not to judge someone by their looks. Take Ponyboy, the narrator of the story, for example. He dresses in worn clothes and is from the poorer side of town. Despite the stereotypes, Ponyboy gets good grades in school, but people don’t see Ponyboy as anything more than a Greaser.

The loyalty among the Greasers is touching. Ponyboy makes it clear that not everyone in the group is fond of one another, but they would still do anything to protect each other. For example, Ponyboy and Dallas were never really that close. But when Johnny and Ponyboy run away, Dallas, their not so friendly fellow Greaser, gives them money and tells them to go to an old church to hideout. He even checks up on them and takes them to lunch.

My favorite aspect of the book was the relationship between the Greasers. Having been through similar experiences, they all understood each other. For example, most of them came from broken homes, were high school dropouts, and felt powerless about their situations. Due to the lack of love at home, the Greasers had created their own family.

Darry, Ponyboy’s oldest brother, was my favorite character. He sacrificed college to raise his younger brothers, Sodapop and Ponyboy, when their parents died. As a result, Darry worked two jobs and rarely got time to go out. But the reader can see that Darry did not see his brothers as a burden. Ponyboy complained about Darry being too strict and unreasonable, but really Darry just cared about him and wanted him to go to college, unlike himself. For example, when Ponyboy came home late one night, Darry was furious because he and Sodapop were worried that something bad had happened to him.

Although The Outsiders was published in 1967, it’s still enjoyable because the problems expressed in it are still relevant today. For example, people still judge each other based on the brand of clothes they wear, the phone they have, car they drive, etc. Also, we tend to divide ourselves up into cliques, just like the Socs and Greasers did. People prefer to associate with others who share similar interests and think like them. Another issue we have today is teenage drug and alcohol abuse. Throughout the book, all of the Greasers and Socs were usually drinking or smoking. Their smoking increased when put in a stressful situation. Ponyboy’s smoking habits were really bad. Sometimes, he would smoke a pack of cigarettes a day.

The author did a phenomenal job bringing the characters to life. Hinton developed the characters by giving them simple background stories and understandable personalities. As I read the book, I was able to recognize the reason behind the Greasers’ behavior. It amazed me that this book was written by a teenager, since the story was very good. This book is a page turner. I read the book in one sitting, unable to put it down. If you ever find yourself looking for an easy, entertaining read, then The Outsiders is for you.