Oh my Gooooooood, guys. This was not originally in my Read This! schedule but we just finished it in my YA Lit class and I neeeeeed to talk about it.
First of all, can we just appreciate the fact that S.E. Hinton started writing this when she was 15? When I was 15, I was obsessed with boys and desperately trying not to fail Geometry (I got a C, so there.)
*There will probably be spoilers ahead*
The Outsiders follows a band of brothers known to most as “The Greasers.” They’re a group of boys ranging in age from 14 to 20 and none of them have the happiest of home lives. The story is told through the eyes of Ponyboy Curtis (yes that is his real name and he likes it, thank you very much!) who lives with his older brothers, Sodapop and Darrel, who are also Greasers. Their parents died, so Darrel acts as the father figure, even though he is only 20 years old himself. They have a rival gang called the “Socs” (which is pronounced like “soh-shiz” not “socks” which was how I had been saying it the entire times until someone in my class awkwardly pointed it out to me. Anyway…) So the rivalry between the Greasers and the Socs stems from their economic statuses. The Greasers come from broken homes and the Socs have money and never seem to want for anything.
At the risk of not being too spoilery, I will just kinda gloss over some stuff. Ponyboy and his pal Johnny get into some serious trouble with the Socs and as a result, they have to hide from the police. It goes pretty down hill from there. So sad.
But anyway, this book does a really good job of addressing themes like class differences, which is the entire reason for the rivalry between the Socs and the Greasers and even though this book takes places in the 60s, it’s super relatable to class differences today. (King Cheeto would have you believe otherwise, but I digress…)
AND OH MY GOD it addresses mental illness so well through PTSD (though they don’t call it that) and this book was written in the 60s before that was even a thing. It makes me so happy.
AND THIS BOOK HAS FINALLY TAUGHT ME WHERE THE PHRASE “Stay gold, Ponyboy” COMES FROM! I HAD NO IDEA! (The first time I ever heard it was in Stepbrothers…)
Read this book guys. Please and thank you.