Book Review: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I should probably not read books that are considered classics anymore.

Book CWs

  • Child endangerment
  • Bullying
  • Abuse
  • Fighting
  • Profanity
  • Character Death

Premise

The greaser vs. Soc war has been going on for years, but no one really knows why. Socs have money, privilege, and prestige. Greasers, on the other hand, are hoodlums who spend most of their time robbing stores and smoking cigarettes.

Ponyboy Curtis has been a greaser for all 14 years of his life, something he is very proud of. And though he aims to stay out of trouble, he’s always willing to show up to a rumble to protect his fellow greasers. But when Ponyboy finds himself on the run from the law, he is finally forced to reevaluate what exactly it means to be a greaser or a Soc.

Review (No Spoilers)

I remember reading That was Then, This is Now in 8th grade for my English class and I think I liked it? I honestly can’t remember and I’m not sure why they had us read the follow up novel to The Outsiders without us reading The Outsiders first. I bought this book from Barnes & Noble because it was a signed copy and I felt like I would enjoy it. I’m ashamed to say that I probably shouldn’t have gotten it.

The plot follows a rivalry between two “gangs” and what I enjoyed the most was reading Ponyboy’s feelings about the whole situation. He was basically a child thrown into a world of chaos and he had some great things to say. Around 1/4 of the way through the book, I felt like I had a good idea of where it was heading, and then it ended up heading in a totally different direction. Admittedly, the direction it ended up going was literally written on the blurb, which for some reason I didn’t read beforehand. It actually looped back to what I was expecting though, so I wasn’t necessarily upset.

The reason I rated this book 3 stars was because I was unsatisfied with how little of Ponyboy’s story I saw. The entire book occurs in a very short amount of time, and I would have preferred for it to have showed more. By the end of the book, I had racked up a whole bunch of questions and I had no answers. I felt as if it said a lot without really telling me much.

I told my partner that this felt very much like a classic book. I find that I can’t really get into classics because to me the plots are average and don’t really pull me in. I was going to give this book 3 stars, but I liked the last chapter enough to push it up a bit. I also had the 50th year anniversary edition which has super cool extras at the end, if anyone’s interested in those.

In 2018, I DNFed Pride and Prejudice. In 2019, I very nearly DNFed Slaughterhouse Five, and finished it only because I was using it for a readathon prompt. I ended up rating it 1 star (RIP). This is my third straight year in a row that I’ve disliked a classic. I figure I should probably stay away from them for now.

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