Monday, September 3, 2007

The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton

This won't be a full-fledged review of The Outsiders -- I will assume that most have read it. But when I checked the copyright date on the book, I realized that this year is its 40th anniversary and so I thought I'd post a few thoughts on a book that I've never had a student say they didn't like.

Somehow I made it through middle school and high school (and, I think, library school) without hearing about The Outsiders. Just goes to show what type of bubble I lived in. I'm not sure that I would have liked it back then. I do like it now.

Books like The Outsiders make you think. How can we, as a society, progress beyond the point where we stick artificial labels on groups of people based on where they came from or to which race they belong or their economic status? We know it's wrong and yet we still do it. We don't give people a chance. This is such a basic theme of so much literature, and yet we still don't get it.

I love the characters in this book. I think they are the main reason it still resonates with teenagers. I think Darry is my favorite, because of the sacrifices he has made in order to take care of his brothers (and because he does his best to insist on what's best for them).

One of the true classics in young adult literature -- may it never go stale.

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