[No, this isn’t about the 1983 movie adaptation.]
Fifty years. It has been fifty goddamn years since this book was first published. It was 1967. And S.E. Hinton — the author — was 18 at the time. She was eight-fucking-teen and here I am, past my mid-20s and I still have no clue.
Susan started writing this when she was 16 and it was published less than two years after. Now, fifty years later, it has sold over 14 million copies worldwide and is continuing to sell thousands yearly.
SHE WAS EIGHTEEN.
Let me just wrap my head around that fact.
Okay. Well, now I understand why it continues to sell even after all these years. And it defeats the quote in the book, Nothing gold can stay, because this book has gotten past its golden anniversary and it’s still going strong… and definitely here to stay!
It truly is a classic. And I don’t know why it took me this long to read this. (There’s no excuse!)
So… this book.
Written in the POV of Ponyboy (yes, that’s his real name), The Outsiders is set in the late 1960s and is about, what Pony says are the only kinds of people in the world: the Greasers (modern-day word: gangster or those from the hood) and the Socs (modern-day word: rich kids).
The book is unlike any other 21st century Young Adult novels that I’ve read. It doesn’t use highfalutin words; doesn’t beat around the bush; doesn’t use metaphors as much; and is just basically straight to the point at all times.
I guess that’s what one gets from a Young Adult book that was actually written by a young adult. (Okay, don’t get me wrong. It’s a well-written novel– clear and authentic. It’s just that it didn’t have all the unnecessary shit that one usually gets from YA novels that were written by adult professional writers.)
I’m not sure, though, why I liked this book as much as I do.
I suppose it’s the rawness and realness of it. I suppose it’s that feeling that I got when I was reading it — that feeling that makes it seem like I’m right there, with all of them, battling their battles, feeling their emotions, crying their tears, suffering their pain.
She wrote and built each character in a way that seems so real and believable. They’ve become relate-able even when you technically cannot relate to them because you’re neither a boy nor a Greaser nor someone who grew up in ’60s Oklahoma.
Susan wrote something that has transpired all these years. While written in the POV of a Greaser, we learn that it’s not entirely black and white. And the gray area is always something that’s worth looking into.
Fifty years and it’s still worth it.
Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.