I feel like I'm constantly trying to catch up with the world on my classic reading, modern and otherwise, and The Outsiders is one of those books I honestly should have read eons ago.
The Outsiders is the story of two gangs: the Greasers and the Socs (pronounced "soshes" with a long o). The Greasers are lower income. They wear their hair a little long and slicked back. The narrator is a Greaser named Ponyboy whose parents died less than a year ago. Since then, his oldest brother has taken over the parenting and the middle brother, who isn't college material but is the handsomest of the three, works as a mechanic. The Socs are higher income, wear Madras and drive nice cars. They beat up Ponyboy's best friend, who already was regularly beaten at home, and now he's become super skittish.
As the story opens, Ponyboy is coming out of the movie theater when a group of Socs pull up, chase him down, threaten to cut his hair and beat him up a little. The Socs are basically bored rich kids whose parents don't pay them any attention while the Greasers feel lucky if they have a roof over their heads. Their increasingly hostile encounters eventually lead to a big fight between the two gangs and death. But, the theme seems to be that everyone has trouble, regardless of income.
Highly recommended - I'm so impressed that a high school girl had this level of writing maturity. The characters are 3-dimensional, their dialogue believable and definitely of its time, the story sad but meaningful. And, now I understand the meaning of the oft-quoted line, "Stay gold, Ponyboy." [sobs] Such a powerful read. I posted about the book on both Instagram and Facebook when I finished and clearly there's good reason The Outsiders is a modern classic. It is one of those books that people remember well, long after they've closed the book; both posts got an unusual response. I'm sure it will stick with me, as well.
I haven't watched the movie, yet, but I bought an inexpensive copy on DVD and I'm hoping I'll get to it, soon. I gave the book 5 stars because I couldn't put it down and the theme is still relevant.
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