> The Things You Can Read: Review: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders  by S.E. Hinton-a woman by the way-is a story of family, friendship, differences, loss, and redemption. This coming-of-age novel does not pull any punches, it tackles each of these issues head-on. The setting of the novel is Tulsa, Oklahoma in the mid-60s. The protagonist, Pony Boy Curtis, is a Greaser, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks. The story is told from his first person point of view, which brings an intimacy to the story; drawing the reader in from the moment Pony Boy steps out of the movie theater on the first page, "When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home." Truly a classic first line.

Pony Boy lives with his two brothers, Darry and Soda Pop. Darry is acting as both mother and father to his kid brothers; after the loss of their parents in a horrific car accident that haunts Pony Boy in his dreams. Pony Boy resents his older brother's parenting style, which leads to a major altercation between the brothers. Pony Boy leaves, and the direct consequence of this single act is that Pony Boy and his best friend, Johnny Cade, land up in the wrong place at the wrong time, resulting in the death of a Socs. With the death of Bob Sheldon, the Socs, Pony Boy is changed forever. To say more about the plot of The Outsiders is to spoil the novel, so follow the rest of Pony Boy's journey to redemption by reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

Let me start by saying I am extremely biased towards The Outsiders. One of my favorite novels from "back in the day" when I was in seventh grade...now, as a teacher of seventh grade English, it is still beloved by this reviewer. The Outsiders is the novel I use with all four of my English extension/enrichment classes. For those math people out there, this means, that for the past four years, I have read and taught this novel sixteen times, and counting. I can honestly say the novel never gets staid or boring.

Published in 1967, Pony-Boy and his band of brothers--literally and figuratively--are as vibrant and alive to the twelve and thirteen-year-old readers of today as they have been to YA readers in the late sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties. Hard to believe that a novel that is forty-six years old is able to pack such a punch, but yet it honestly does. I see it year after year. I have witnessed reluctant readers become avid readers, by introducing them to S.E Hinton's body of work. The Outsiders opens the floodgates for her other books:  
Rumble Fish, That was Then, This is Now, and Tex. Yes, the novel is violent, but that is the world of the Curtis brothers. The violence is realistically portrayed, and not gratuitous, which is what strikes a resonating cord with so many readers. Students feel Pony Boys pain, and, as a result, it allows for some wonderful classroom discussions.

Pony Boy will forever "Stay Gold" in this classic YA novel.
The OutsidersThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To see comments for this review on Goodreads click below:
Goodreads Comments

Links that I use to teach the novel:
S.E.Hinton's Site
NYT Book Review: 40 Years Later
Web English Teacher: The Outsiders
Some Novel Ideas: Teaching The Outsiders
Book Trailer for The Outsiders
Introduction of the Themes Found in The Outsiders Visually
NYT Coppola Pays a Return Visit to His 'Gone With the Wind' for Teenagers
The Outsider Quiz 

Happy Reading!
The Things You Can Read
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!


  1. My son read this in his 8th grade English this year. It was about the only book he's ever said he liked. He read a lot for himself and then I took turns alternating reading with him. It makes a great read aloud with sons. There are ton of topics to be discussed that pertain to real boy life in the 21st Century too. Good pick! I want you for my English teacher.

  2. I also loved this book and it's sitting on my shelf :)

  3. I'm excited to be a new follower of your blog. I'd love a follow back at sugarplumsandlollipops.blogspot.com

  4. I personally loved this book. I think it would have been an enjoyable book to teach but unfortunately it wasn't on our curriculum. Great review and great site. I love how you include the resources you used to teach the book at the bottom. I'm a new follower :)


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