The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

I bought The Outsiders at the annual book fair at my son’s school. It’s a slim paperback that can be read almost in one sitting. I’ve been interested in the book ever since seeing the movie of the same name. It was filmed on location here in Tulsa so it was interesting to see our former family church shown as a hospital and so on.

This is a very powerful little book. It is set in a city in the 60’s and it is about teenage gangs. There are two types of gangs, “greasers” and “socs” (pronounced “soshes” in the movie.) They don’t really know why they hate each other they just do. The protagonist in the book is Ponyboy, a greaser.

Everything is pretty cool between the gangs until somebody tries to bridge the gap. The result is immediate, violent and tragic. The book is about Ponyboy and his relationship with his family, friends, and fellow gang members and how he is trying to figure out what is going on in this world.

The book is marketed toward teenagers but I loved it. It is awesome and I give it four stars out of five.

8 thoughts on “The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

  1. P M Prescott

    The divide is economic. Soc’s drive Mustangs and wear fashionable clothes. Groups always treat women and property and protect them from what they consider preditors.
    Still a great book and movie. What a coming of age for all those actors. Would that more directors would make movies like this to get young actors feet wet.

  2. Joan

    Love, love, love this book! I think I read it a dozen times when I was a teen.

    I wish I was teaching eighth grade so I could teach it.

  3. Jan

    I loved it, too. I had my then 10 year old grandson read it, then all his friends were reading it, too.

  4. DrillerAA09

    There were high school fraternities and sororities at most schools in the early to mid sixties in Tulsa. The Soc’s came from that arena. The greasers were considered to be on the lower end of the economic ladder. To put it bluntly, Hale, Rogers, Edison, Memorial, were considered to be the strong hold of the Soc’s while McClain, Webster, Central, East Central and Jenks were considered home turf of the greasers. I grew up in Tulsa during this time frame. Trust me.

  5. TulsaGentleman

    Driller has it right. I taught Junior High at Horace Mann in 1964 and the terms socs and greasers were in common use.

    The movie version was an early Francis Ford Coppola film and accurately captured the book. The cast included a number young guys who became famous later on, including Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Ralph Macchio, and Tom Cruise.

    S. E. Hinton’s full name is Susan Eloise Hinton. She published the book using her initials so it would not be obvious that the author was female.

    She began writing the book in 1965 while in high school and submitted a draft copy of it to satisfy an English class assignment. The teacher gave her a bad grade because of the language and violence. She went ahead and published it in 1967 as a 17 year old freshman at the University of Tulsa. Cool beans, eh?

  6. Baloney

    I love that it’s a Tulsa book. Michael has to read it next year so it is on my list of books to get. I’m not sure he will understand the social dynamics involved so this may be a challenge.

  7. Jill of All Trades

    One of my very favorite books and movies. My cousin who went to Edison used the term soc all the time when I was around her. She was only a couple of years older than me, I think graduating in 1972. I thought the term so strange growing up in Broken Arrow but after reading the book got it.

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