Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

4 Stars

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”

Last week my son came home from school and informed me he had a homework assignment about the book his class is reading as a group. Said child was forlorn that he would be unable to complete the assignment as the editions of the book were for “class use only” and were not permitted to be taken home. “Never you fear,” I said to the young boy, “for I have a LIBRARY CARD!!!!!!” (while actually freaking out that I might have to: (i) change out of my “comfy” clothes, (ii) move my slothlike self off of the sofa after a hard day at work, or (iii) embarrass the child by refusing to change out of P.J. pants whilst chauffeuring him to pick up a hard copy of said book). I asked the small boy (with much trepidation) “what book do you need?” and he answered “The Outsiders”. I was filled with glee and assured my son I could easily help him with any questions about that book as I read it a bunch of times myself 800 years ago when I was a young girl. The boy was dubious, so in order to ease his mind I searched the interwebs and was thrilled to find out The Outsiders was available in Kindle format from the library. Whilst waiting for the book to load on to the Kindle, I turned to my son and said the following words:

“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 . . .”

Followed by:


So the boy was able to pick my geriatric brain for assistance with his homework and it turned out the book wasn’t really a requirement in order to get the assignment done in the first place. (Note to all of you youngsters who do not yet have children of you own – THEY ARE WILEY AND EVEN THE MOST HONOR-ROLL-A-RIFIC KID WILL AT SOME POINT GO TO ANY AND ALL LENGTHS TO AVOID HOMEWORK.) Thus, I found myself left with The Outsiders on the Kindle and it was literally begging me to put down the crappy book I was currently reading and take a trip down memory lane. So that’s just what I did . . .

And it was just as good as I remembered it. The Outsiders is the quintessential teenage story about love and loss and family and right and wrong and good and bad. I read it in an evening, sitting outside during a sunset, as one should do if given the opportunity. It proved to be timeless, it still made me teary-eyed after all these years, and I still thought it had one of the best ensemble cast of characters ever put to paper.

And then I remembered it was written by a teenager - one of those awful things that lives in my house and makes my hair turn gray. So let me wrap up this non-review kind of review with a personal note: To my son I ask you to recognize everything I do for you is with love, just like Darry Curtis and Ponyboy. To you I promise I will do everything in my power to make you “stay gold” as long as possible.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Kelly!

    What a great non-review kind of review!

    You even could explain the entire book in a very short phrase: "The Outsiders is the [...] story about love and loss and family and right and wrong and good and bad.". Congratulations!—I've spend some effort on trying to achieve this, but I couldn't. Now, with your help I am inspired and can spread the word about this amazing story—good, right? :P

    But I need to be honest: you made me sad for two things:

    1. Somehow, when you wrote "I read it in an evening, sitting outside during a sunset,", I felt myself nostalgic. You know? Reading that good, touching and heartbreaking book with the ending it has, seeing the sunset... oh, I even can feel the breeze that makes us thoughtful about our memories, can't you?

    2. "[...] I still thought it had one of the best ensemble cast of characters ever put to paper. " this is sad!!! I'm not a book devourer as you are for sure—one per week, omg!—, but I like to read very much, specially storytellers with a meaning just like The Outsiders. The point is: I finished the book a day ago. You made me think that probably from now on I am condemned to be more demanding about books than never before—the way the characters are developed, the way you get immersed into the book's world, etc.—, which COULD BE a not-that-good-thing because In can avoid some books to be read due to their apparently not-the-same-quality-shape. You know what I mean?

    Also, thanks for sharing your funny experience with your son—remembering that from the top of your head really makes you a person with a GOOD—GOOOOD!—memory, lol.

    By the bye, can you recommend me some books in the most similar fashion as The Outsiders? I mean, with a meaningful story; with well developed characters and easy to comprehend writing?

    I am Brazilian and started just right now reading entire books in english and I want to make the experience as smooth as possible to do not get scared about the language puzzles.

    That's it!

    Please, keep writing your reviews and perspectives! They are humorous, useful and they have their own personality.

    Thank you!