By R.J. Garcia
For National Read a Book Day I thought I’d blog about The Outsiders. It is the first book, I fell in love with. And for some reason, I never forgot the opening line: “When I stepped out of the dark movie theater into the bright sunlight I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.”
S.E Hinton brought each character to life. Even the characters with smaller parts left you wanting more of them. There was this melancholy feeling to the narrative that pulled you in without being overly sentimental. Even the setting, 1950’s Oklahoma and poor and rich sides of town is its own presence. From the action-filled fights to the genuine relationships between the characters, the book is hard to put down. It is even harder to forget. Yes, I am still all fan girl over this book.
There are two main social classes in the story. The Greasers are the poor people who are not treated with the same respect as the rich preppy Socs. Both social classes are involved in an ongoing feud. Ponyboy’s brother Darry is strict, playing the role of his surrogate father while his other brother Sodapop is his good looking and laid back brother. Ponyboy’s best friend is Johnny, who is gentle innocence makes him the heart of the book. Dally Winston is a juvenile delinquent who honestly cares and looks out for his friends. He is good and bad. Together they and a couple of their other friends make up the Greasers. Everything is great for the gang, going to the movies, and joking around at home. Until one night Ponyboy and Johnny are out and get jumped by Socs; what would happen that night would change their life’s forever.
Despite intense plot lines that include: running away, fighting, a fatal stabbing, fire and suicide, there is a latent decency throughout. It leaves the reader with a sense of what is right and wrong. The Outsiders truly showed the value of innocence. I was twelve years old when I first read it. Although it was written before I was even born, the messages are timeless. It made me realize, I didn’t want to grow up too fast. It also taught me that it doesn’t matter how much money a person has, but what is on the inside that matters. If you have a chance to read this book, I guarantee it will take you away and leave you thinking.