Book Review: The Outsiders

Susan Eloise Hinton, an American author, is best known for her literature for young adults. The Outsiders was the first novel written by Hinton, at age 17. The novel gave her publicity, fame, and began her career as a writer. It was published in1967 by Viking, and has sold over 14 million copies, resulting in her success.

S. E. Hinton received the Margaret Edwards award for The Outsiders. This award recognizes authors for their specific body of work that has a lasting contribution to young adult literature.

This has been my first time reading The Outsiders. It was recommended to me by an English teacher but I never managed to get around to read it at the time. And now that I’ve finished the book I can’t believe I didn’t read it when it was first recommended.

The Outsiders is an attention-grabbing and compelling book full of suspense. The context was heart-breaking and touching at times. There were moments where the characters displayed vulnerability and drop the veil of being tough.

Set in a small town in Oklahoma, the novel chronicles the lives of four teenage boys. The story of each individual is narrated through a personal perspective, outlining the experiences and hardships of each boy. In a town where the lines between rich and poor are clearly defined, boys from opposite sides of the tracks realize they have more in common than they think.

In addition to the plot and setting, the novel is well-written, considering S.E. Hinton was just 17 when she wrote it. I was amazed with the amount of depth and layers of the book. There are some corny scenes and the novel is slightly dated in parts, but nonetheless a good read. It shows that no matter where you come from, all teenagers are essentially the same. They all have the same concerns, fears, struggles, worries, and hopes for the future.

The characters in the story are vivid and realistic.  I really connected to the characters of Ponyboy, Johnny, and Dallas and wanted them to succeed. I found it easy to sympathize with them in relation to my own experiences. To me this book shines light on just how similar opposites can be. We all have different walks of life but sometimes our paths cross.

The book really shows the flaws in society’s pre-conceptions and prejudices of the various social classes. It teaches you things are not always what they seem, and you may be surprised by what you discover.