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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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In her breathtakingly amazing début novel, S.E.Hinton, afterwards known as “The Voice of the Youth", delivers penetrating insight in the depth of feelings contained within a teen: a person who is derided by the society on the grounds of defying morality and breaching the societal code of conduct; a person who has been isolated from adult influence and presented, in a first person’s voice, as the antagonist of injustice and discrimination.
The protagonist, a fourteen-year-old Greaser called Ponyboy Curtis, is an avid reader whose life is centered around the world-like cabinet of books. Cornered like a scared mouse by the prospect of studying harder than anyone else to achieve what his brother had to forsake, Ponyboy has enough worries to cope with without watching his back for a Corvair full of Socs trailing him, ready to ‘jump’ him if he is alone and the odds are favorable. His life is not exactly halcyon, but relatively normal, until that fateful day when his best friend Johnny kills a Soc under the blanket of self-defense. Faced with two possibilities, either to run for it or turn themselves in, Ponyboy and Johnny decide to go for the former. They are provisioned by Dallas Winston, another fellow Greaser who had been jailed at the age of 10, and who was tougher, colder and meaner than the most of them.
The series of events that follow are action-packed, with Ponyboy and Johnny fleeing to Windrixville, and later on deciding to turn themselves then, only to suffer from serious injuries as they try to escape children cooped up in the burning old church they had been previously staying in. And here another turn of events takes place, with Ponyboy gaining consciousness only to find that he has been re-united with his family by the inexplicable whims of fate, and that his friend Johnny has little hope of surviving. He also learns that fate might yet play the devil’s advocate and separate him from his family, only to leave him wailing in despair behind the concrete walls of a reformatory. And emotions, perhaps, introduce their way here as well; Ponyboy’s differences with his brother Darry come to a sorry end as he realizes that his brother always thinks of his betterment and that his attitude, a bit rough, is only because he, like everyone else, doesn’t want to lose another family member.
Here the tragedy begins, leading to an unexpected conclusion. Johnny, unable to fight any longer, passes into the void, leaving the whole group’s nerves shattered. Dally, forced to bear the loss of his pet, gets himself shot down by the fuzz, adding an icing to the cake of despair baking in the hearts of Ponyboy’s team. And Ponyboy, thankfully not going to reformatory because of the intervention of the doctor, finds that life has only become harder for him. Getting tougher, doesn’t help, as he loses his concentration in studies and begins to score low. Finally he learns that the best way to return to normal is to express the universal message that must be mankind’s prerogative: there are as many unifiers as dividers. Things are rough all over, and we must do what we can for the greater good, marking the beginning of a new era, a new epoch…
The story is shot through with pathos, empathy and understanding. S.E.Hinton’s distinct style, clarifying everything up as simply as possible, is laudable and only adds to her inspiring personality. This is not a story of words; it is a story of emotions, as everyone who reads it finds out, and when they do, it’s just the inception, the origin from which all things emerge. A great read, an admirable inclusion to one’s library and a powerful message: all declared in this installment that is lively, provocative and ingenious.



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livisan said...
Sept. 17, 2012 at 10:23 am:
You started and ended the review well but gave away FAR too much plot in the middle  
 
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