In a small Oklahoma town there are two rival gangs: Greasers and Socs. The Greasers are poor and wear their hair long, whilst the Socs are rich kids from the West-side. Street fights go on between the two gangs and the Socs like to beat up the Greasers for fun. Ponyboy Curtis is a Greaser and he knows to stay out of trouble. But one night someone goes too far. That’s when things start to spiral out of control for Ponyboy.
I’m still in awe of the fact that S.E. Hinton wrote this book when she was just sixteen, inspired by what she saw around her. While The Outsiders is set in 1960s America, the universal themes such as class divide and isolation are still relevant today. It’s for anyone who’s ever felt like they are on the outside looking in.
The protagonist Ponyboy is a relatable narrator. As a reader, you naturally feel sympathetic towards the Greasers. I loved the friendships between the cast of the male characters. In fact, the greatest strength of this book lies in the characters which the author has created. They are well-developed and realistic. My favourite character is Johnny. He’s quiet, considerate and loyal.
I think I understand now why people, especially young males, join gangs. The Greasers look out for each other and stick together. They’re like a band of brothers. There’s also the survival aspect. If there’s a rival gang, you need the help of your own gang.
This is a rare book which moved me so much. It made me cry quite a few times. I even cried after I read it, just thinking about what had happened. The central message is not to judge someone by the way they look or how they dress. In the end, we’re all the same.
Overall, a brilliant and heartbreaking coming-of-age novel.
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐