There’s no love lost between the Greasers and the Socs, kids from opposite sides of town with very little in common. The Greasers are tough and emotional, with strong friendships and even stronger family ties, while the Socs are wealthy and detached. Fourteen-year-old Greaser Ponyboy lives with his two older brothers after the death of both of his parents and knows he can count on them for love and protection. He tries his best to stay out of trouble, but knows he has to stick up for himself and his friends in order to survive. When one night of confrontation spirals out of control Ponyboy begins to realize that maybe there’s not so much difference between his family of Greasers and the Socs after all.
Although The Outsiders was published back in 1967, it is still a relevant and gripping story today. It’s no surprise that it is the best selling Young Adult novel of all time. From page one the reader is drawn in by the narrative told from Ponyboy’s point of view, and the male teen voice is perfect, never wavering in style. Hinton’s setting is vivid with every realistic detail painting the picture of kids from opposite backgrounds struggling to make a statement.
What touched me the most about this story is the unwavering love and support evident not only between Ponyboy and his two older brothers Soda and Darry, but between all of the Greasers. Self-preservation comes second to brotherly love as they fight to keep each other safe. My heart broke for the tragedy that befalls young Johnny and the way that it affects the Greasers.
The Outsiders is a story of love, family, and lifelong friendship that will touch readers of any age. The overarching message is relevant and necessary in today’s divided world. Hinton’s novel reminds us that although we might appear different from our enemies on the surface, we are in many ways exactly the same.